Miss Edmonia Lewisís Disputation
May 30, 1890
by Patricia Callan
I was not arrested. The case — dropped.
The newspaper in Oberlin was mute.
Those girls who carried on and on about
my life — I did not poison them.
They were drunk that night. Did I deserve
to be beaten bloody, nearly blinded,
left for dead because of two drunks?
Oberlin, exemplar of heart, mind
and sobriety, did not find
the men who thrashed me. The town
feared the specter of loose morality.
If they know about the incident, the ladies
of this club are silent. Iíll accept,
but later, who knows, I may have to leave.
Copyright © 2014 by Patricia Callan.