James Meredith March, 1966
Pudding Magazine #60

What was the sound
of the tear gas canisters
the cops fired as they stood
upwind in Canton, Mississippi?

Run, my breath short, jump
a fence, and fall. I come to
still choking in the cool grass.
rinse my face at a garden hose.

How we circle the streets
singing ourselves back
to our purpose, doors open,
people call us in for food, beds.

Next to me a woman, curls
into her bruised body, whimpers
in her sleep, while over and over,
like something caught,

trying to free itself, I replay
the bullhorns, pig-faced masks,
billy-clubs pummeling blindly
into the smoke of silenced voices.


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The Schuylkill Valley Journal publishes poetry, short stories and critical essays. Both the SVJ and SVJ LIT come out twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.
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