Maxine

Written by: Judy Konos

I met Maxine in the 50's when I was a 5th grader 
She was of mixed race and shunned, even by the teachers
I had only recently moved to the suburbs of New Orleans 
And my playmates in Memphis had been little black girls
who lived on my grandmother's farm

So to me, Maxine was not different and I was happy to have a friend
We sat together at lunch and on the playground where we talked
There she told me that her grandmother was mean and punished her
because her hair was blondish and frizzy .... Of no offense to me

With the passing of time, I began to notice that I was also shunned
For many weeks this did not dissuade me from our friendship
Maxine must have also noticed for she'd bring me a daily lunch sandwich 
And beg me to sit with her....I felt myself ... us...drifting away

Over time the pressure mounted and I had to let her go
Some 59 years later I still hate myself for not being stronger
Because I remember 30 years ago reading in the paper that
Maxine who worked as a bar maid had been murdered

What if I had stayed?  Would that have made a difference?
I guess I will never know....nor feel better about Maxine or myself


Thank you for reading my haunting.............