Rebecca Manery
Rebecca Manery

Plum Street, Detroit, 1967

There was a bell around the neck
of the black man’s blonde girlfriend.

They were hippies, wildflowers.
They moved like animals, like gods.

I saw her pale hand in his dark one,
the stripe of their coupled fingers.

I had never heard of napalm or Martin Luther King.
I had no word for how they looked at one another.

In July the riots broke out.
I was sent away, that bell around my neck

already ringing.

 

Dictionary Definition of Marian Anderson

Two dates, one photo,

a word and a half:

Amer. contralto.

The rest left out

to conserve space.

 


Playing Desdemona

She scans the cast and finds her name

in a dim hall in a green room.

Scales of music float like torn wallpaper

behind the asbestos curtain.

She puts the cup to her lips—

                   my heart’s subdu’d.

Imagines herself a moth of peace.

Suddenly—moths everywhere.