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Saturday, June 27, 2015


by Carl Boon 

Najee Washington holds a photo of her grandmother Ethel Lance, one of the nine people killed in Wednesday's shooting at Emanuel AME Church, as she stands outside her home Friday, June 19, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. "She cared for everyone. She took care of people. She would give her last to anyone," said Washington. "That's what she was and that's what she'll always be." David Goldman / AP via NBC News

Tonight and removed from bullets,
she'd be swinging her great-grandson
in Wannamaker Park
in North Charleston,
happy for the chance
to see him smile--this kid
of unruly teeth and Jurassic World
pyjamas. Because Saturday nights
while her daughter waited tables
at the Olde Harbor Restaurant,
she had him. They ate
her famous lasagna, did puzzles,
imagined steamships. It made her
alive--past the dusty pews
of the church and the gracious oaks
of West Ashley. I don't care tonight
that bullets brought her down;
I care that this boy,
who knew Mahalia Jackson's name,
and Jesse Owens's stance,
and Dr. King's speeches,
brought her up
on so many Saturday nights.

Carl Boon lives in Istanbul, where he directs the English prep school and teaches courses in literature at Yeni Yuzyil University. Recent ot forthcoming poems appear in The Tulane Review, The Blue Bonnet Review, Posit, and other magazines.