I Forgot He Was White
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Two men meet on a train. A Poem about human prejudice and dangerous stereotyping. When two people are left alone for a few hours so much can transpire. One man in young and white and the other in Black and much older. Story takes place near Tennessee.
I forgot he was White
I met a man on the train
A hundred miles from Tennessee
I studied him meticulously
Hoping he wouldn’t sit next to me
So I judged him Prejudicially
He was white, about 24
In Military garb with a beard
We were in the South
So he was everything
CNN & Fox said I should fear
He said, Sir, Do you mind if I sit here?
Now I just got over Charlotte
And (Charleston still had me in tears)
I didn't want to talk about Sharpton
Or Trayvon or share political fears
I moved by bags over to the the right
And reached to turn off the light
To my surprise he was quite pollite
He was far too candid about his PTSD
Speaking rather candidly
The loud noises, Sir!
The sound of the IED.
Then he reached into his bag
Offering pieces of candy to me
He said, Sir, I should have never
Gone over there.
I was a kid playing video games.
I don’t know if I will ever be the same.
I spoke of Vietnam
And he spoke of Iraq
He said, “Sometimes I hear voices, Sir”
I said, Just be thankful you made it back.
He spoke of his injured brother
Who was also bitten by war’s bite
He wanted to cry but the conductor
Flashed on the light
I said, “Hey, Everything will be alright.”
He looked into my eyes
Saying, Goodbye, Sir.
I watched him disappear from sight
Leaving me to realize
That in those brief hours
I had forgotten he was White
Copyright © Michael Ellis | Year Posted 2020
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