Life was eternal on that Black block.
On the corner stood the steeple of our church.
The taste of life lingers like grape gum.
I braved the street car lined avenue for the store.
I was an invincible six- year old girl.
The only thing above me was huge bright sun.
In the sky it beat down from heaven, sun
Spreading over every crevice of the block.
I thought I lived at the center, just a girl.
Catholic altar at the corner, and next door Baptist church.
I snuck and dodged across the street to the store.
Secreted in careful wrapper was the grape gum.
I was dizzy with the taste of grape bubble gum.
Over me the dazzling shine of the sun,
Behind me the riches, wonders of the store.
Around me the marvelous terrain of the block
On the corner the solace of my own church.
I took off running like a rocket girl.
I was near midway the busy street, just a little biddy girl,
Crazy with fear and mouth full of grape gum
I would see down the block the wide open Saintified church
If I had not been near blind from sun.
I was a child who belonged to the block,
Racing through traffic running from the store.
A car stopped short of me as I ran from the store.
The driver must have cursed the foolish little girl
Crossing the street in the middle of the block
What would he’d have said about grape gum?
I stood still and so did the sun
One God was watching over me from each church.
There was providence from each and every church.
There was plenty in each and every store.
There was a generosity in the people of the sun.
This is what I remember from that day as a girl.
When I almost died for a wad of grape bubble gum.
In the middle of the wide avenue on my Black block.
I am that block, and I am each church.
I am more than gum under big boots, and I am a memory store.
I was a Black girl, now I am a woman of the sun.