Sister Gary in her Sunday britches-
Platinum lapel pin and garnet earscrews,
Skin flashing cold like blue-black fire
Against coifed, henna hair and cheeks, creme rouged
-Caught the mainline down to Woolworth’s.
Thoughts of nonviolence barked like canines
With each reach and pull of the bellcord:
Coke-Cola plant askance in the distance,
Arched turrets of St. John's Cathedral,
And, at last, on 25th, Hancock's lighthouse
Marking the place her trip began.
A day prior she'd read in the paper,
Negress Causes Disturbance at Five and Dime;
No mention was made of the billy that belonged to no one
Yet found its way up sides Miss Mary Lou's head.
Stepping lively from the iron-gray portal
Down a cobblestone offshoot of 25th,
Swinging her pocketbook (a stropped-edged threat),
Sister Gary made her way to the counter to sip
Tepid coffee warmed by a promise not kept.
As a bullet-head man leaned across her shoulder,
Whispering words more bitter than her swillish brew,
She imagined the sanguine lead for that evening's paper:
Second Disturbance at Five and Dime. Negress Assaulted.
Assailant Identified by Trail of Blood.