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NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA, 1964 by Karen Duffy

On this spot there was a swimming pool

my grandmother wouldn’t let me go in

because there were Colored people in it

and their color comes off in the water.

I looked into the water for the dark

pigment which I thought would swirl

on top like Easter egg dye

but there was no dark color,

only dark people splashing and laughing

while all around trees with huge roots

grew up out of the ground.

 

And on this spot were water fountains,

two cracked bowls balancing on rusty pipes.

One said White and one said Colored.

Colored people must drink different water I thought

and when no one was looking,

I drank from the Colored one.

It tasted the same as the White,

like a dirty nickel. I waited for something

to happen, but I was still White.

Maybe it would take time.

I waited some more.

Where to even begin.

Karen Duffy Author

Karen Zaborowski Duffy, 66, lives in Ventnor, New Jersey, USA. In 2012, she retired from thirty years of teaching high school English and several serving as a Dodge Poet for the Geraldine R Dodge Foundation. She teaches poetry for Murphy Writing of Stockton University and plays with grandchildren.

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