On an old rice plantation in the last hour of slavery
a Negro in a red head rag serves a blue-coated officer
French brandy she pours from a crystal decanter.
In her dining room in the ’fifties my grandmother’s toe
presses a bell under the carpet to summon the maid
we all pretend is invisible in her white lace apron.
In the owners’ box at Yankee Stadium in the 1980s
a Black maid in a black uniform and a white apron
offers the guests greasy hot dogs from a silver tray.
I sat in the leather chair shaped like a catcher’s mitt
licking my fingers.