Awake. Cold sweat beads your skin.
The red eye of the clock glares 2:15,
the comforter denies you comfort.
The room is quiet, but for the judge
and jury who assemble again tonight
to weigh your guilt, consider your crimes—
your sharp tongue, your loveless heart.
The prosecutor summons the witnesses, the lawyer
for the defense fails to appear. Dream evidence
is presented—that recurring young woman in the stunted,
toddler body. What have you done to her?
Unforgiven, you thrash til dawn.
The judge calls a recess.
Case continued until tomorrow night.
Fiftieth Anniversary, August 28, 2013
(March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963)
There’s something you should know about Jack:
he never ventured outside. Sun and heat
were his sworn enemies;
his deity was rest.
“Only mad dogs and Englishmen
go out in the noonday sun” was his favorite saying.
Next favorite: “Never sit when you can lie down;
never stand when you can sit.”
Yet there stood my father in 1963,
sweating but determined,
surrounded by thousands in jackets and ties
who would no longer lie down.
As a child he wept for the Scottsboro boys
like I now weep for Trayvon Martin. Today,
wearing this fifty-year-old button, I tend the fire
that he lit in me, on that distant August day.
Eileen Ivey Sirota is a psychotherapist and potter in suburban Washington, DC, a late-comer to poetry. Her poems have been published in District Lines, Calyx, Lighten Up, and New Verse News.