Seeing, poem by Peggy Ann Tartt

    When his grandson tugs at his pants leg,
    Wanting to see the starlings whistling in the tree outside,

    He cannot help but see himself one long-ago day.
    Having learned how to stand on his own,

    He had tugged at his mother’s leg, wanting to see
    What she and the others saw in the near distance.

    It was after dusk then, but the built fire
    Cast a glowing light as though it were noon.

    His mother lifted him the way he lifts his grandson now.
    “See?” she had said, pointing to the two lynched negroes

    Dangling like the long pods of the catalpa tree,
    Which he still loves despite his memory of the lonely couple

    Swaying in time with the soft hum of the wind.
    “See?” he says to his grandson as the birds fly off.


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Janet Norman Knox
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