Romella Kitchens (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Cobblestones and red bricks.
Orphaned branches brushing our arms.
When I was little, going
to the candy store in our
neighborhood meant everything.
It was owned by a very light skinned
Black man named “Mr. Mack.”
He told jokes. He was kind. He was laughter.
He folded the top of the little brown
bags down as if there was gold inside.
This was where I practiced saying,
“Thank you” and “Please.”
He took phone calls from mother’s
anxious to know, did we count our own
money? Did we check our change? Were we
Ju-ju beans, Mary Janes, Charms lollipops,
Toostsie rolls, fu-man chu gum, ice cream
and soda pop, orange juice, milk
the race home smiling, holding hands.
As a child, I felt spiritual, knew spiritual.
As an adult, all we have to do is maintain it.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about this poem (Mr.Mack's by Romella Kitchens )
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