Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Anti-Yoke

Hand shaved cypress shingles
white scalloped beauty
enclose Antioch -Anti-Yoke- Baptist Church
on Whitney Plantation.

Inside, an escape from beating sun, burning heat
Three small black slave children
sit upon the back bench.
Their eyes are empty, and
My breath comes short.

Formed from copper,
A dozen plus more line the aisle,
adorn the pulpit.

Peter, the slave whose name hangs
from the lanyard 'round my neck
sits cross-legged in the front
an innocent eight year old
trapped in our shameful past.

A chill runs over my skin
imagining his Mistress
teaching him to write
before selling him off.
Valued at $900
half-Confederate
half-Union.

Here, their stories are shared,
preserved, important.
They were babies, I think
Valued less than family pets.

Their whispers fill me
as I leave the coolness of Antioch Church.
I have heard your stories, Children,
and they cannot be
unheard.

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