Poetry

Exits

I saw a woman decaying on the street.
Not waiting for her light. Not looking, not caring and
No one hit her.

Later
I saw a woman with anger crusted
In the corners of her mouth.
She smiled very hard but could not take a greeting
Without bile burning.

It was a sister’s sorrow seeping into the groundwater
salting everything. All those dreams mushed
and clogging the system. This can’t be.

So I left today without frowning down at the brown grass
For looking dead in front of my house.
Looking for something gentle
I turned to the hummingbird and she said, “Not me.”
I turned to the wind.
Then a man sang
I feel like going on
Sounding old but necessary
Another video clip and
I’m slammed again
Hit again, shot again
This isn’t fair.

Is it jealousy?
Is it because I can hold mist and love?
Because I’ve tasted moon and bark?
Because God said “Be” and I am?

Nancy Johnson James is a poet and educator of exceptional children. She lives in Oakland, California with her spouse, son, two dogs, and one guinea pig.
*Photo courtesy of Allan Doyle.
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