And all along I was white,
and straight, and male,
and middle-class. That was
experience, that meal
at the diner, that breath
of exhaust. The morning dew
was fresh, early to rise
in the mowing of shaggy
meadowlands. Again I
understood that shame
was all my own. A comb
run slowly through thickening
hair. A different century,
at the end or the beginning
of an era of human sadness.
Faceless, stateless. Armed
with knowledge new
to him, he set forth to apply it
widely, whether or not it was
knowledge new to others.
Hope was a help at that time.

Andy Stallings lives in Deerfield, MA, where he teaches English at Deerfield Academy. His second collection with Rescue Press, Paradise, will come out in 2018. He has four young children, and coaches cross country running.

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