How Could You?

The pot-bellied prairie sky takes off
Its red ball cap, white hair blown awry,
To press its forehead against the window.
Blue eyes squint under cupped hands,
Glare, How could you?

The miscegenists are busy in the kitchen.
I, bro-ho, coalburner, stand at the sink
With a dishwand over a pan.
Hard water encrusts the faucet
With its old song: traitor, traitor.

I don’t hear it. My ears white
As rusted lime scale. Two feet away,
A black man slices blue cheese
On a cutting board. He’s good with a knife.
Figgers, grunts the sky.

We, both quiet at our tasks,
Faces set in peace, mundane attention,
Bare feet bless scuffed linoleum
Of a white farmhouse with a long history
And crumbling foundation.

He lays down the knife.
Perhaps because I glance over
And smile at the symmetric pile of cheese
We bought under fluorescent lights
At the small town local grocery,

Or perhaps because the prairie sky
Is no old man or god peeping, he slips
Behind me, wraps summer-darkened arms
Around my waist. I stop scrubbing
To rest in the blue sky of our miscegenation.


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