Two Poems By Martha Deed

Haunted by Martha

It's true old people chew			 			 
memories on their cuds.					 
If they're not sick or burned up by inflation 
and forced to work at Wal-Mart for their home,		 
getting older is actually a good time	
for reflection, which brings me to a NY girl
living on a 1950s farm just north of DC.
She didn't need to learn CRT* in school.

I played jacks with Martha.
Ran in the fields with her, played
hide and seek in her father's corn.
She was whip-smart, funny and skinny ‒ 
ten years old like me.
She lived in the tenant house with a privy.
I lived in the main house with the wrap-around porch.
My school was new, brick and glitzy.
Hers was old and wood and dingy.
She was Black	 and I am White.

Where is she now?  Has life treated her well?
Is she even alive?  The 1950 US Census is out.
I am listed there, but she is not.
And our schools?
I assume hers is long gone	
and mine has grown.

Mine is gone. Kaput. Under Rt 97 
and a 20 ft long classroom wall collapse.
Hers is a museum.

*Critical Race Theory

80 syllables x 3
Bunker Tritina

I spared no expense to protect my family	
the wealthy man declared. Obama's goal to out
law guns could cause a civil war.  I need some time

to save my family from marauding gangs whose time
will turn to hunting food and shelter. My family 
bunker 26 ft below will to keep those scoundrels out.  

It's not safe.  You've told the world.    I'm moving out, 
his daughter cried. Your White man's boasting is ill-timed.
A homeless band of thugs will seize it for their family. 
. . .

Now they've shot and killed our family out of time.


The writing doesn’t stop. Most recent mini-chap: Paint the Sky with Red and Yellow Strokes (Origami Poems Project, 2022). Ten chapbooks. FootHills Publishing has released Martha Deed’s two full-length poetry collections, Climate Change (2014) and Under the Rock (2019). Other work includes Chasing Whitman (2019) by Huntington Historical Society, two Pushcart Nominations.

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