I’ll Carry It With Me

047

From the bowels of the deep south
To the place of the rising sun
She’ll stretch her roots to the ends of the Earth
And her scent to the universe edge
From the Nile
To the Euphrates
Her soul is Langston
And has grown deep like the rivers

On her bark
Are the names whipped out of her ancestors skin
Pocketbook scriptures ripped out from underneath their tongues
And she stands there
Towering over the people who pass her by
Singing their song in the wind

She remembers the scratchy fiber
It was course and woolly
Like Nyongo’s hair
When they tied her arms
Around the Magnolia

She was there when Moses died
They buried his bones under the shadow of her roof
Tied bright yellow ribbons to her branches like shackles on her arms
So that Tubman can tell that she was a slave
And carry her falling leaves to freedom
She sings her song
From the bowels of the deep south
And the deep North
clean across the Atlantic
And on up to Spain
Where the ships of Tarshish came first

But you will never know of it
Not when you see her standing there
All tall
And full of pride
her petals are soft and delicate
and burning passion like the sun
But I won’t forget
I’ll bottle her scent and carry it with me
The history of her children
The memory of the hanging tree

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Raking Leaves

yard-cleanup-g

The trees are not ashamed of their nakedness. They have stepped out of their summer wear, short sleeved leaves that now lay idle upon the course concrete. Some have managed to fall upon the now stiff soil in hopes the dirt may integrate them back into the earth and they be born again by way of decomposition. But the winds will not give them rest, will not honor the time it takes for them to eventually disintegrate but will instead blow its breath against the now crackling foliage into my front yard. I have nothing against the leaves, but they should know that their friends have been here twice this week already and I am not apt to redeem them again. First of all, winter has showed up again on my Louisiana doorstep unannounced. It carries on the shoulders of the skies only black and whites and gray; a dull reminder that it is time for me to hibernate under the covers. I have bills to pay sure, but my boss doesn’t know that I have an uninvited guest this morning and will not be able to report to work. This is not about me though; this is about them…those dreadful leaves. I’m convinced they know what they’re doing. Like me, they wish only to escape the cold. They’ve spent enough time hanging out against the backdrop of tree bark long enough to know that darker colors are absorbers of light and thereby become better radiators of heat. For this reason they anxiously wait for me to assemble them into those big black garbage bags. Never mind that my face might fall off; that the frigid air will smack me across the head with its hand pulling my face along with it. And how would that look to the neighbors? A faceless woman fighting leaves on the front yard. They care nothing about this though, selfish leaves. They actually depend on my need to see color again. To do away with the browns and the grays and the blacks for just one more chance to see the sun play hide and seek upon the vibrant green of freshly cut grass—undisturbed by the ugly brown leaves sleeping in the back yard.

But today this will just have to suffice. I don’t feel like having to explain to my neighbors why I have no face. I am not yet ready to face the beat down I have coming to me for the chance to scrape up things that will just be here again 20 minutes after I am done. So now dear leaves run along now. Find someone else to pick on your bully’s. I am not your salvation today.