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0 Comments | Jan 02, 2021

Was It Me?

Racial Justice Confederate StatuesI lunched at the feet of Robert E. Lee in New Orleans,

his bronze likeness proudly perched astride Traveler.

Not a thought crossed my mind,

even as those he fought so ardently to enslave

walked before me through the courtyard.


In Biloxi I leaned comfortably back

against Beauregard’s polished boot,

sipping a Coke in the midday sun.

Finishing it off with an insouciant sigh

and a friendly wave

to the old black man on a nearby bench.


In Charleston I arranged to meet a friend

at the park in which Jeff Davis stands proudly

gazing out across the harbor

where slave ships came and went.

We chatted amiably, in no way

inconvenienced by history’s embrace.


And it was Richmond, I think, where

I sought coolness from the noon sun

in the shade of Stuart, his horse rearing majestically.

I even took a moment to read

the inscription at the base,

details of his dedication to the cause.


At no point during or after these casual moments

did it occur to me to say anything,

to write to anyone, sign a petition, join a protest.

It was all so innocent, unworthy of a second thought.


But now, years later, as at least a few of these

callous testaments to savagery and ignorance

begin to come down,

a century or more past due,

I am forced to acknowledge my complete

lack of influence in any of it.

One perfectly articulate and thoughtful person

who lifted not a finger,

lost not one moment’s sleep.

Maybe it doesn’t rise to the level of complicity.


Maybe it does.


One more thing to ponder

in the days that remain.






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