I'm Pink

Copyright ©1972 John Wm Beckner - All Rights Reserved

Aunt Ellie is visiting us here.
For the first time this year.
It’s her first trip to Ft. Knox.
And we’re having some funny talks.

I don’t remember the story she tells.
It has to do with color and bells.
When I was a very little boy,
I didn’t always give Mom joy.

A bell they had to put on my shoe,
To hear me when I wasn’t in view.
In Georgia we lived at the time.
Before I walked, I wanted to climb.

In East Columbus at a park,
I guess I caused a spark.
I was thirsty and wanted a drink.
I couldn’t read, I think.

The water fountain had a sign.
Mom might have to pay a fine
If I drank from the wrong one.
Of trouble, she wanted none.

“Colored” was the sign I saw.
She said it was a very bad law.
I asked what the other sign said.
“Whites Only” is what she read.

This is where she gets a smile.
She said I responded with style.
I looked at my arm and didn’t even think,
“But Mom,” I said, “My arm is pink.”


I was 12 when I wrote this. But the story was about a time I lived in Georgia in the early 1960’s. I
would have been about 2 years old. Please understand, this poem is written by a child, and the words
may be childish. Still, my mom and aunt thought it was a cute remembrance. Racism obviously didn’t
make sense to that once innocent child. And 60 years later, it still doesn’t.