Left to Right


United States
34° 8' 18.4668" N, 118° 53' 40.6716" W

It is 1960 and there are two drinking fountains.
Colored on the left, white on the right.
A young black girl shuffles her feet forward slowly in line.
They drag along the dirt and make lines in the ground.
Lines like words she cannot yet read.
She looks to the right, where there is no line for the white drinking fountain.
She slips out of line like a page torn from a book and loses her place as she walks over to that pristine fountain.
And even though she can see small drops of water slipping from the nozzle she's convinced that were she to push the lever out would pour magic.
Magic to change her, magic to make her frizzy curls strait blonde rivets down her back, magic to make her lively dark eyes a lovely blue. Magic to put shoes on her feel and money in her mamas purse.
She lifts her hand tentatively towards the lever. Her soft fingertips graze the fountain when a white hand slaps it away and a shrill voice pierces her ears.
From the faucets on Her face water flows freely. It is water with its own magic, full of the pain she cannot yet turn into words, words she will be screaming as she walks down paved roads that carve new paths in a world where white is synonymous with right.
One day she will ask who are you to tell me where I can and cannot drink.
Pushing her to the left, pushing the hate and resentment and oppressed to the left and building a wall to sequester dark skin and dark eyes.
But when that Dam snaps  people will pour fourth and into the RIGHT, washing over the dry and and the water, now free, will carve lines in the land, lines like words- these  words they write:
Our rights are not wrong.
And that small girl who stepped out of line will draw new lines and new paths and carve out her own words.
She will fight and scream and work until she, without shame or opposition, will move from left to right.


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