“On the bus, my mother moves with us to the back./ It is 1963 /in South Carolina. /Too dangerous to sit closer to the front /and dare the driver to make her move. Not with us. Not now. /Me in her arms all of three months old. My sister and brother squeezed into the seat beside her. White shirt, tie, and my brother’s head shaved clean. /My sister’s braids /white ribboned. /Sit up straight, my mother says. /She tells my brother to take his fingers out of his mouth. /They do what is asked of them. /Although they don’t know why they have to. /This isn’t Ohio, my mother says, as though we understand. /Her mouth a small lipsticked dash, her back /“sharp as a line. DO NOT CROSS! /COLOREDS TO THE BACK! Step off the curb if a white person comes toward you /don’t look them in the eye. Yes sir. No sir. /My apologies. Her eyes straight ahead, my mother is miles away from here. Then her mouth softens, her hand moves gently/ over my brother’s warm head. He is three years old, /his wide eyes open to the world, his too-big ears already listening. /We’re as good as anybody, my mother whispers. /As good as anybody.” p.43
This quote relates to Rosa Parks when she is on a bus. Even though she didn't give up her seat the mom still had to kiss up to the white person who was sitting in the back of the bus.
In the poem there was a line saying white people can't cross that line because they would be in the colored section.
Mama in the poem was saying how no colored person would dare to sit near the driver because it could be to dangerous.
When she said it could be dangerous I think she meant people would harass them.
This is bus from Ohio in 1963
An example of a do not cross line