Incident


Once riding in old Baltimore,
      Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
      Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
      And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
      His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."

I saw the whole of Baltimore
      From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
      That's all that I remember.


Countee Cullen, On These I Stand: An Anthology of the Best Poems of Countee Cullen, Harper & Brothers, 1925.