White ivory snakes through tipu timber,

deep rosewood grain glossed in sable,

my grandfather's initials etched in the surface - CRM;

Thick fingers pressed against a letter opener,

his only calm amongst a clutter of

tax forms and tape dispensers,

staples and sticky notes,

model fire engines, mechanical pencils,

glasses that hung on his sagging ears

in place of a helmet's soot soaked shield.

His face singed in the heat of burning buildings,

hands charred, pulling at ashen bodies.

He could have been a hero in the massacre,

but not my grandfather, not an old bigot like him.

All he left to me, his ivory inlaid desk,

is a rosewood reminder of them.

Ashley Maser is currently studying English and Creative Writing as a sophomore at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. She interns for the university literary journal, the Dos Passos Review.

Much of my work addresses similar issues as those discussed in Rosewood Massacre, 1923. As poets, I feel we are given an opportunity to acknowledge not only the flaws in ourselves, but those present in society. By mining my own experiences with topics like racism I try to use poetry to bring understanding to myself and to the reader.



Copyright 2009