Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee;
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.
Note | The summer of 2006 was vile, with a war that killed my cousin, an incredibly sweet, competent, and inspiring Israeli young man. During the war's month-long horrors, which killed countless other innocents, my thoughts turned repeatedly to Incident, a poem I first read when I taught young children, their families, and other early childhood educators. I found in Incident then — and now, a direct link between baseless hatred that destroys the souls of perpetrators and victims, leading to their deaths. Would that we look into the eyes of Davis (shown in the photo) and into each other's eyes and see in each "other" a facet of the One. (I met Davis this summer at an interview with John Lewis, Civil Rights leader and my Georgia US Congressman.)