In this poem, a little girl asks her mother if she can go downtown to march for equal rights for African Americans, but the mother says no. She fears that her daughter will not be safe if she goes to the march, as she fears the violence that could result. The little girl tries to assure her mother that she won't be alone, that there will be lots of children present and they will all march together. Still, her mother refuses the request because of the dangers of marching, and so she sends her daughter, instead, to church to "'sing in the children's choir.'" The mother believes that her daughter will be safe in the church, "a sacred place," and so she carefully and lovingly readies her daughter to go. The mother relaxes because she believes that her child is safe from harm. However, the horrible irony of the poem is that the church becomes a scene of terrible violence and her daughter is killed in an explosion. She would have been safer marching in front of police and dogs and guns than she was in a church.