Dear History

This reading was recorded by Alessandro Mistrorigo for Phonodia at Bucknell University in London, UK, on the 28th of May, 2015.

Read by Shara McCallum on 28 May 2015

Dear History

Believe me when I tell you
I did not know her name

but remember the colour of her dress:
red, like my own school uniform.

I did not know death could come to a girl
walking home, stick in hand,

tracing circles in the dirt,
singing as she went along.

I did not know death
would find someone

for wearing the wrong colour smock
in the wrong part of town.

My parents spoke in hushed tones,
but I heard the story of her body

dragged from street to gully,
left sullied in semen and blood.

I heard the song she sang,
the one I wish I could sing now.

Truth is, I was that girl.
Truth is, I was never there.

from This Strange Land (Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2011).

Share this Poem with your co-workers or friends