by Kathya Alexander
My Mama say when she a girl and she go to school,
way back when, sometime back in a whole ‘nother century,
that only the white children get to ride on the bus.
Colored children have to walk. And the white kids pass by and chunk mud rocks at them.
She say the school that she go to is bout 10 miles each way.
But every time she tell the story, the school get further and further.
I done heard this story for so much of my life,
I could tell it by heart. I am dusting the floorboards
in the living room. And oiling our beautiful old wooden upright piano.
These the two things that I have to do every Saturday
along with wringing the clothes from out our new wringer washer
and hanging them out on the clothesline in the backyard.
Mama sitting on the couch sewing my new dress for school.
The television is on filled with black and white images
of little colored children trying to desegregate schools.