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Monday, June 12, 2017

Julie A. Dickson ------ four poems


I am the wind.

Moving air about

more out of boredom, really,

I despise inactivity.

I am the earth.

In silent caves, on rocky cliffs

the darkest forest deep,

The mother beneath your feet

I am the ice.

Thin coating over cold water,

fish peer through my window,

a circling hawk flies in shadow

I am the fire.

Always hot, I burn,

my sorrow in dying embers,

flame gone, no one remembers.

I am the sky.

Not so much above it all;

I wrap myself around

these elements that are bound.

All factions are in kind,

cohesively entwined.                                                                    

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH


Brown and White
When she boarded the school bus, the first thing I noticed were her very brown legs.
The only portion showing was between ivory-white socks, carefully rolled down –
identical cuffs against her ankles, and the knee-length hem of her plaid uniform skirt.
Somehow, my eyes stayed transfixed on her shins, so dark in contrast to my pale legs.
I looked down quickly, as if to verify this, but also because I didn’t want to stare.
I was a new student, my first day in fifth grade. I didn’t know a single person,
didn’t know how to make friends. I glanced up as this girl slid into the seat in front of me.
I studied the back of her neck, at the tightly curled hair that I wanted to touch.
But I did nothing. I looked at the cover of her notebook; Clara seemed to be her name.
I finally uttered my first words in a soft timid voice, as if to myself, “This is my first day.”
Clara turned sideways in her seat and smiled. “Don’t worry. Don’t be scared.”
I had been on the bus for over 30 minutes and Clara was the only one who had spoken to me.
It was a small town in 1965. I didn’t know about prejudice then, had never met a black girl.
At school, in a sea of faces, none looked at or talked to Clara, but I didn’t know why.
Because of our brief exchange on the bus, she reached for my hand and led me to the classroom.
I didn’t have any other friends that year in school. I couldn’t have known that my simple act
would mark me, drawing a line in the sand so clear that no one would step across.
Clara and I sat side-by-side during that 5th grade year, in class, at lunch and on the bus.
My parents moved away the following summer and I never saw Clara again. I was saddened
that I didn’t even get to say goodbye, that she would look for me in the fall, never knowing…
Twenty years later, on an escalator in a mall, my five-year-old daughter placed her hand
atop a huge dark hand behind hers on the railing. I looked down and saw brown and white.
We both looked up and smiled. He grinned at us, not seeming to mind her touch.
I thought of Clara for the first time in so many years, our skinny shins, brown and white.
Two lonely girls who met on a bus and became friends at a time when no one approved.

Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH


Whispers on the Wall

A vagrant vacancy

whispers to the wall,

in silent proclivity

illegible scrawl.

Meaningless message,

or does it preclude

a venomous vestige

most humans elude?

Wander on freely,

most unconcerned -

perhaps quite naively,

no danger discerned.

Disquieted candor,

facts unparalleled -

blindly meander,

our consciousness quelled.

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH


Table 3
Needs More Coffee

I’ve been to diners north of Nelson, true

that’s reaching into Canada, you know

BC, for sure took in objectors then,

since ’73, it was the place to go.

So when I made a road trip to the south

to be exact, a town within the states

Bonner’s Ferry Diner, there I stopped

where they boasted some impressive plates.

The coffee shop was crowded on that day.

I sat upon a lonely counter stool,

removed my jacket, drank a steaming cup

a stranger in this place, I played it cool.

Suddenly, a nearby waitress said, “more

coffee for the Neos at table three.”

I froze with my mug halfway to my mouth,

courage gone, I did not turn to see.

The noisy crowd continued with their meals,

I gazed around me, no one seemed to care

that word still echoed, sounding quite surreal

not a word was spoken, not a stare.

Sat silently for moments, didn’t move.

When I finally turned around, I gazed –

a group of shaved head men at table 3;

recalling stories told, I sat there, dazed.

Being from BC, I had not seen

America, by definition spoke

diversity, the melting pot, I heard

the sight before me almost made me choke.

Did these men personify the norm?

Whites supreme appeared the badge tattooed.

It caused my fear to surge, I wondered when

to Nelson more might flee from war, elude

oppression, hate and violence that they face

out in neon light the signs were there,

in diner, I saw faces that would fight,

at table 3, around me, everywhere.

I left the Bonner’s Ferry Diner then

thinking that America digressed,

turned its back on all the progress made

extent of which, I never would have guessed.

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH

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