A poem for going home to Alabama this week,
memories of love and resistance and the struggle
against the lumber, steel and coal companies
that own most of small Bibb County,
at the tail end of the Appalachian Mountain chain.

Between east and west, between morning
and evening, between the beginning and
the end, if I go far enough south, I come
to red clay, drought, the green rivers lying low
in their limestone beds. I come to the woman
who said, I always felt you belonged to me,
the one who is still dead. I come to the man
who handed the ladle and the water bucket
to the others, and made the man with the gun,
the white man, wait in the heat. Memory pushes
against me, pushes me over, under, the sun
on my left, the sun on my right, until shadows
I can follow finally come back across the road
as the trees grow up from the company’s clearcut.

Minnie Bruce Pratt

Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivs
Creative Commons 2010

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