Monday, January 21, 2008

Little Girl, I am not a Cracker. (An occurrence at The Martin Luther King Rec Center, Gainesville, Florida, the year 2000)

Little Girl, I am not a Cracker. (An occurrence at The Martin Luther King Rec Center, Gainesville, Florida, the year 2000)


I am here, just like you,
a citizen of this state,
at a city pool.

My son is your age
and he plays here with his friends,
takes swimming lessons,
splashes in the same water with you.
And, yet, you are none the lighter for it
and he, no more dark.

How old are you, little girl?
Seven? Eight?
Who thought teaching you about Crackers
was a good idea?

There you were, with your friends,
And I, with my son,
passing by you, having just paid my fees
for his class,
and you talking to your friends,
pointing at us
saying how
You don’t like Crackers.
Never did like Crackers.

Little girl, I am not a Cracker.
My people were slaves, just like yours.
Go Down Moses, we sing at Passover.
Wade in the Water my favorite holiday song.

When my grandparents came here,
they were not white. They came from a ghetto,
moved to a ghetto. I can still hear them call me kike
like I’m in second grade.
Are you in second grade? What do they call you?


When Selma was marched upon,
My people were there.
We came from all over this nation
to beat back Jim Crow,
face the flame on the cross,
stare through the hoods.
Freedom Riders came
and in the obvious light of the Southern sun
we fought with you,
rode with you,
walked with you.
Our dead rotted in the summer swelter
just like yours.

Little girl, did you read
I Have a Dream?
I read it to my son.
Did your Mamma read it to you?

In Montgomery,
there is a memorial
to the many slain in the fight for civil rights.
Little girl, did you know there are Jews on that slab?
We lay next to you in memorial,
under the ground.

Little girl, I am not a Cracker.
Do not judge me by how I look.
I will try to do the same.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very apt, very true, and very real.

Every 7th Day said...

One of the best ever, Adamus.

Adam Byrn "Adamus" Tritt said...

Thank you. More to come and very soon. Really.

No, I mean it. I swear.

Sorta.