Plantation Summer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 22, 2018

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Submitted: July 22, 2018

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Plantation summer

Woodbine, lilac
two branches fallen, swaying in the mud-washed shallows.
The slow scrape of birches unraveling on the dyke—
one day they will be hard and smooth, lovable.
Wisteria twines on the white porch walls.
A cast-iron floor, pewter: the image of my grandfather
the flow of rainwater in a sewage pipe.

I press pen to paper like needle to a sore, solid wound, draining the pus.

Winsome, heavy on the vine,
he knew the wind would number our leaves.
Like the fruit bat, waiting, creeping underneath at night
to gnaw. He has his own family to feed,
a clamoring knot of petulants,
demanding sugar.

A pendant hung between the window blinds on the old plantation,
in damask and china wrapped. A gift,
for his angel of the washbasin.

His wife asked once why he did it.

He didn’t think of it as wrong, at the time.
A child dark-eyed and silent under horse’s hooves:
I didn’t know any better either.

When a black woman gave me her smiles,
I returned them.
When a white man gave me his name,
I could not bear it.

 

 


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