Black and White
I grew up in black and white—
blasted grinning men to the moon
with a fire so hot
the fire itself was black and white.
In B&W photos, I eat
my first birthday cake, chase chickens,
and sit tentatively
in my alcoholic grandfather’s lap.
Even giant storms
with down-home names like Alma, Eloise,
and Agnes—born in the blue
Gulf—were just B/W by the time
they dumped rain
and toppled pecan trees in our yard.
Beginning third grade,
we all schooled together—Blacks and
Whites. We held
our 30-year class reunion at a country club
where mixed swimming
was taboo for 1980 graduation. I saw a woman
again named Lydia,
who married well, introduced her
to my wife, Laura,
saw the slightest Do you remember?
in Lydia’s smile. And,
I did. We had liked one another from a distance,
across a divide
that could not hide her figure, her
breasts, hips, and skin,
the laugh that could have filled
a home. She was
black. I was white. I was a Smith.
She was a Jones.