I pass a concert.
I love this band,
and I didn’t know
they were coming.

But I know I need rest.
I buy the dumplings
and I head to see
Lee in his park.

You see me from afar;
you see I am groomed.
I see your dark skin,
and your companions.

You ask me if I could
give you some help.
I hear you. I ask you
what you want.

You have no answer.
I say see you around.
I go and find a bench.
I sit alone and eat.

I came to consider Lee.
I eye him on his horse.
I wonder what he wanted.
You and yours walk by.

I catch you with my voice.
I have a question for you.
You ask what. You draw near.
Who was that man?

I point. What was he about?
Your first words surprise.
He was definitely not a racist.
I can’t hide the surprise.

My face betrays me.
Your friend chimes in.
He was a confederate general!
He shares your dark skin.

I ask you if you know
about New Orleans.
You tell me you’ve
been to New Orleans.

I tell you they’ve been
taking down statues
like this one down there.
You laugh. You do.

You say they won’t
take down this one.
I ask if you’ll stop them.
Your head cranks a little.

You cheerfully say yeah.
You mumble something
about a petition.
And I laugh. I love you.

Your friend, the woman,
the white woman
with the short hair,
is looking at my food.

I have three dumplings left.
I ask her if she is hungry.
She says yes. I tell her
what’s left is hers.

I offer her a fresh pair
of wooden chopsticks.
She says no thank you.
She can use her fingers.

She asks for more sauce.
I give her the bag.
I let her know it’s in there.
I tell everyone thank you.

And I walk to the mall,
the mall paved with brick.
And I feel my steps beneath,
and I begin to cry.

Veiled beneath my shades
I have no other recourse.
I know am a rich man.
I gave all I could, somehow.