Sarah Browning: This Is the Poem

Cadre, my friend, Sarah Browning’s poetry will run in series at Vox Populi for some weeks. Drop by, read. She’s all the good.

Vox Populi


I am on the Parkway with Fred, driving home

from Baltimore to DC. We’ve been to a packed


and riotous tribute to Ms. Lucille Clifton

at the public library. How we start talking


about history and my slave-owning forbears

and poetry I don’t remember, but that’s how it is


with Fred – we talk about these things.

I tell Fred I’ve been trying and failing


to find my way into the head

of my great grandmother or anyone else


who owned other people, trying to imagine.

Fred says, Well, maybe that’s not the poem.


Maybe this is the poem – you and I,

a Black man and a white woman,


crossing state lines below the Mason-Dixon Line.

The traffic stalls for late-night repairs


and we stop, between these two cities.

We are friends in a car.


And how could the…

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