(Op. 6, No. 1, performed by Arthur Rubinstein)
(In Memoriam John Lewis)
There are many kinds of stupid.
This is one: being fourteen
and lingering half an hour
in my favorite store in the Christmas season,
smiling at the things I couldn’t afford.
I never saw the approach of the cop
who ordered me to empty my pockets.
Seeing they held nothing but shabby
gloves and a stocking cap, he said
that people like me made him leery
and ordered me to watch myself.
In seconds I left the store.
I never returned.
This is another kind of stupid:
being a white kid in a white town
confronted by a white policeman,
thinking this is the worst
it can possibly get, and thinking the same
for decades. That’s what a kid thinks
who gobbled chocolate cake on his tenth birthday
while the blood hadn’t dried on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Miles David Moore has published four books of poetry, the latest of which, Man on Terrace with Wine, appeared in 2020. He was a Top Four winner in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Competition in 2022. He is also film reviewer for the online arts magazine Scene4.