conscientious objector

© 2019 by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

for Simeon White

Simeon registered as a

conscientious objector

refused to report for the draft

sought asylum in a black church

eventually landed in jail

for the crime of not 

wanting to kill people

the crime of not 

wanting to kill people

he always said no Vietnamese

ever called him the N-word

lots of whites in North Carolina

did after he organized 

sit-ins at segregated lunch counters

he was 16

at 18 he reminded them 

of the words they taught him

thou shalt not kill

many people would say 

Simeon’s not a hero

for avoiding his country’s call

for choosing prison over service

for sticking by a simple commandment

they say they believe in

except when it comes time

to prove it