I’m sitting in the front and looking back.
The driver yells,
Turning innocent faces to stone.
Soft graphite transformed into stoic onyx.
I see it.
But I stay seated and silent.
They rise and leave,
No trace of their presence left but an indent
From the weight of their worries on the seats.
I’m off at the next stop,
A weak white woman, ashamed and asking why.
The next week, I climb on the bus again.
At the same stop as the last time,
Get up out of your seats!
All the onyx faces rise but one,
An especially stubborn obelisk.
As the driver has her arrested,
I see her onyx mask shatter,
Shards of cool slate crashing to the ground
And a fierce light of pride gleaming in her eyes.
My powdery skin clouds over and hardens to ivory
As I marvel at her strength and mourn my compliance.
Next time, I think. Next time.
And so, I march with them.
Thousands of ivory and onyx countenances,
Melded together to form one vibrant face of freedom.