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Thursday, July 30, 2020


by Penelope Scambly Schott

Yes, the singing, the speakers,
relatives, co-workers, mayor,
yes, three former presidents
(though not the racist-in-office),
their memories, tributes, praise,
but today it was the audience
in the Ebenezer Baptist Church,
that place sanctified by history,
how we, listening on the radio
to the speeches and applause,
could also hear people breathe
and hold their breaths, call out,
respond, agree, speak it aloud.
Say it, brother. Say it, sister. Amen.

Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Recent books are House of the Cardamom Seed  and November Quilt.  Forthcoming is On Dufur Hill, a sequence of poems about a small (pop. 623) wheat-growing town in central Oregon.