Martina McGowan

Hope Lingers	

	- A true story

Laughing, walking home
From the rathskeller
Thinking we were some / place / safe
The smoke corrupts the crisp air 
We smell it long before we see

The orange glow pouring over the hills of Troy
Flames leaping from an engineering marvel
A mammoth cross covered in expired meal tickets
Burning on the freshman lawn 
With its requisite mob in tow 

Complete with an octoroon dressed as an imperial dragon
Never one of us, never one of them 
Now spotting us coming over the rise 
Wishing he could disappear

The quintessential symbol of terror
Not in the deepest South 
Where my parents lived in constant fear
But the hills and mountains of the far north 
Where much could have changed along the way
But it never really does

Always lingers 
Just beyond the next rise

Martina McGowan, MD, physician, poet, writer, artist, advocate, activist in the wars against social, racial, and sexual injustices. She is the author of “i am the rage,” February 2021, SourceBooks.