Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I am currently reading John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America, a book recommendation by the most trustworthy Nicole at www.anothernicole.com.  His description of the tumultuous South in 1960 touched me deeply today, and inspired this poem. I realize that we're not dealing with the same issues today that he witnessed then, and am so grateful for that. But I am affected by that history and hope to continue learning from it.

Tonight I talked to
the young African-American woman 
who rang me up at HEB
because stories of suffering from another century reminded me
that she was a person. 

Tonight I wondered
how could you be so full of hatred
as to yell obscenities at a six-year-old girl
just for going to school?
And yet
how could I be so self-absorbed
as to withhold genuine kindness and decency from others
just because I don't know them?

Tonight I learned
in ten items or less
that Shawna had kids and went to school
and worked til midnight to make ends meet
and was so grateful for her blessings. 
I learned she wasn't a robot. 
Like I had treated so many Shawnas before.