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Two memories: Poetry from John Sherman and Robin Lovelace

Fall Creek Parkway Indianapolis 1959
by John Sherman

I know just where she was
along fall creek parkway
south of the marott apartments
that I now drive by every week 

how often I glance at the sidewalk
that I have designated the very spot where
she was in full stride on her way to school
when a young white boy cried out at her
from the yellow bus that rushed into her life
and pushed on through heavy traffic
before she could hear our collective gasp
and our own words of anger at an unseemly act 

a frozen series of moments remembered:
the back of the girl’s head
the long gray coat
the shoulders bent over an armful of books
a second or two before
his sudden leap across the bus
to get to the window 

his word
our reaction 

as adults we remember most clearly
the split-second joyful and
hurtful intensities of childhood:
the boy’s sudden leap into the air
the jerk of our heads in his direction
the open mouthed face protruding 
into such a calm morning  

Bio: John Sherman has published three books of poetry. His poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. One of his poems was selected to appear on an Indianapolis Cultural Trail bus stop. Another was selected for the poet-quilter collaboration, Poetry in Free Motion. He is the recipient of a Creative Renewal Artist Fellowship and Individual Arts Program grants for his writing.


Street School
by Robin Lovelace

My sister and me in 1970.
Mulattoes with wavy hair and golden skin.
Skinny young mules with smooth faces and long colt legs, coming from
       the Dairy Queen.
We pass a black man on the sidewalk. He looks us up and down, smiles
       and we smile back, from behind our melting ice cream cones.
Unwise in the ways of black men, other than our weekend father, grateful
       to see one in our cottony white neighborhood.
He yells it. “Niggers.”
Wants to remind us of what we are.
Frightened. Stunned. 
It was not the last time we were called that name. 

Bio: Robin Lovelace was born and raised in Indianapolis, lived in Evansville for a few years and now lives in Plainfield with her husband and her dog. She has been writing stories on and off for at least 30 years. Three short stories were published in various literary magazines in the 1990s, and she won second place in the Ohio Valley Fiction Contest in 2000. She self-published a novel as an e-book in October 2013. Robin is currently working on a science fiction story set in Memphis. About the poem: “I rarely write poetry, but this memory came to mind when I was at the Plainfield Dairy Queen a few weeks ago.”