August, Charlottesville

Today I do the little things: fold shirts and towels, make a sandwich, pour sugar in a jar. Try not to think of the car revving, the bodies hurled, the cries, the litter left - emptied shoes, a rag soaked in someone's blood, metal on the ground. I walked there often when my life was changing, a street busy with people making lives. I sat in the park, eating lunch, a book propped on my lap in the shadow of a statue, watching lawyers and librarians walk back to work. Did I hear it then, the engine revving underneath the placid traffic of a white southern town? Did I hear the murmur of discontent, the slap of refusal, the shutting out of so many, the grinding down that kept this peace? And the hate that propped it up. They caught the killer at the intersection of streets named for an English palace and the home of the slave owner who built this town, one of the Fathers who seeded this country with black blood. --Shared by Martha Merz, a friend of Susan Facknitz, reprinted with permission of the author