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Rated: E · Poetry · Cultural · #2296083
on discrimination against invisible illnesses

The Last American Outcast

So I went to the Smithsonian
and sought out the lunch counter
taken from the Woolworth's in Greensboro
some fifty years ago.

Slipping under the velvet rope
I pick the pink leatherette stool
on the end
and wait to be served.

Seated amongst these uppity disruptors
the stench of outcast stlll lingering in the air
catsup hemorrhaged like blood thickened by the musk of history,
me, the last of them
here in their spectral midst.
I had never known nor ever even imagined
for a heartbeat
that it would come down to a person like me.

The curator is called and comes clicking swiftly perplexed.
"You are in a restricted area. What do you want?" she says in a stage whisper.
"To be served...like the others" I say.
"But you 're not even a........person of color ..." she pleads quietly.
"No, and I am not islamic, native American, quadriplegic...they all would be served."
"Who are you? What do you want?"
"Just a stuffed tomato with chicken salad ...and perhaps an ice tea, no lemon."
"Who are you?" she asked again, cocking her head like a chicken
looking for defects unseen to her naked eyes.
"I am a mentally ill American."
Her eyes widen and she speaks quickly into her phone calling for security.
"I have legal rights. You cannot discriminate",
the uniformed men arrive pick me effortlessly off the sacred pink artifact
and formally cast me out.

I glance back at the ghosts, eating their grilled cheese sandwiches and sipping cokes clinking glasses together...the blacks, gays and feminists.
My time has not yet come.
The last outcast in America,
not welcome at the great lunch counter of this free and accepting land.

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