Get Your Premium Membership

I Forgot He Was White

Poet's Notes
(Show)

Become a Premium Member and post notes and photos about your poem like Michael Ellis.


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 © | Year Posted 2020




Post Comments

Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth so only provide specific positive comments that indicate what you appreciate about the poem.

Please Login to post a comment

Date: 9/23/2020 6:41:00 AM
Creative work addressing the problems of prejudice in America and other countries. When we see the humanness of a person we see them differently for sure. Enjoyed reading your work. Sara
Login to Reply
Date: 4/11/2020 9:40:00 PM
Wonderful heart rendering piece Michael, xomo
Login to Reply