You know the photo: the one of
the young woman with a scarf &
dark hair, crouching over what
used to be a student
hands plunging into the low atmosphere
as if she can grab her god’s shoulders &
shake him for letting this happen.
But you don’t know the man in plaid
over her left shoulder. You don’t know
his class had been dismissed early to
participate in democracy. He is too far
away & indistinct for you to see the
thick glasses, the mustache he still
wears fifty years later. You don’t know
that a decade after the National Guard
almost shot him, too, he would become
my father. Daffodils remain silent, but
not complicit: they’re still suffering shock.
Flowers planted in gun barrels, tear gas
tossed back at uniforms. Shoots
of yellow flowers from my baptism
poke through early May soil.
Winner of Wick Poetry Center's 2020 Peace Poem contest. © Megan Neville. Published by the Academy of American Poets on January 28, 2020.
Megan Neville is the author of the chapbook Rust Belt Love Song (Game Over Books, 2019). She teaches high school English and lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Date Published: 2020-01-29
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/legacy-2