Easter Eve in Philadelphia 1963: For My Sisters by Bernardine (Dine) Watson

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On the night
before the resurrection,
four little girls
are seated around
the dining room table
a rainbow of chocolates
and twice as sweet.

Sisters, they gather to perform
a family sacrament–
turning eggs into the colors
of tomorrow’s dresses
careful careful
the girls whisper
reverently, turning eggs
from side to side

Pink
violet
yellow
blue
fragile hearts shining
through Sunday school curls.

In the kitchen
elders gather
around the radio
listening for the
Saturday night news.
Already the year has been bloody
down in Birmingham
and injustice anywhere
is a threat to justice everywhere.

Sit ins
marchings
beatings
bombings–
the jailing on
Good Friday was
anything
but good.

The little girls
know nothing of oppression
just the murmurs
from grownups
in the kitchen.
On Easter morning, they will rise
to sing hosana in the children’s choir
unaware of how innocence
can run red as blood.

Prior to taking a serious interest in poetry, Bernardine (Dine) Watson worked as a social policy writer for major foundations, nonprofits, and media organizations. She has written for The Washington Post, The Ford Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Stoneleigh Foundation. Dine’s poetry has been published in the Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Indian River Review, by Darkhouse Books, and by the Painted Bride Art Center.  She was a member of 2015-16 class of The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ the Poet in Progress Program, and the 2017 and 2018 classes of the Hurston Wright Foundation’s Summer Writers Week. Dine serves on DC’s Ward 4 Arts and Humanities Committee and on the selection committee for the Takoma Park Third Thursday poetry reading series. She’s read her poetry in venues throughout the DC metropolitan area with More Than A Drum Percussion Ensemble. Dine is a current member of DC Women Writers of Color.

Image by Rowland Scherman, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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