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For Ginger, Who Knew

Ginger, who knew I'd slip away,
would smile and stiffen ever-so-slightly
when I touched her dark, flat stomach.

Ginger, who knew of men and fear
saw the weight of history but gently laughed
down city hills to lunch on Lombard Street.

Ginger, who knew there was no hope,
swore she didn't know how to do those things
she did so well that ten years later I still shiver.

Ginger, who knew I couldn't win,
foretold that I'd stop because, poor child,
I'd been trained that something is wrong
with loving a black woman
even as good as it was,
even as frightening,
even as I write these words
For Ginger, who knew.

© J BARRETT WOLF