Issue No. 20 | Spring 2019
Old Hickory, Tennessee (1967)
At Andrew Jackson Elementary
a classmate asked me, “Are you a Yankee,
or a Rebel?” I’d moved there from the West
Coast, not thinking our war was still going.
The black kids all lived in one neighborhood
near the boundary of Jackson’s estate.
Hopewell. From the bus I noticed their mules
and chickens on Liberty Street’s dirt lots.
In the afternoons young men stood smoking
outside the general store. But it meant
little to me. I didn’t understand
what I now know. I rode my bike, played ball.
All the while, the past was rushing toward me
like a thunderstorm you hear from far off.