New shadow on Thurmond legacy

The Philadelphia Inquirer
January 05, 2004

My son is bored on
the floor of my office.
Not that he hasn't
been busy; for the last
forty-five minutes he's
pieced together
one puzzle after another
to pass the time.
I've been looking at
photographs these
last two hours.
The late senator from the
state of South Carolina;
the 21-year old Clemson
senior in military dress;
the blond wife, the blond
that speech in Philadelphia
the summer of '48.
And I wouldn't even
be thinking about him
except I'm sitting here
at Essie Mae
how she has no bitterness,
no anger.
My son finishes
another puzzle.
That was easy, he declares.
And now this 6-year-old
sidles up next to me.
Dad, let's play Sorry, he says.
I'm getting up from my
chair, thinking how
shadows used to be
the way we told time.

Herman Beavers

Herman Beavers is associate professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania; he lives in Burlington, NJ.

This is the sixth of a series of commissioned poems based on recent Inquirer headlines. The original headline, "New Shadow on Thurmond Legacy," appeared Dec. 18 on page A3.