Black and White

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Black and White

I grew up in black and white—
Black-and-white TV

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.

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