Burial Ground

by Brenda Rose



So that I might face my past,
I dug these words from the richest Southern soil
and held them in my hands as dry bones
waiting for flesh.
I wrapped the bones in warm breath
and watched them come together,
before rising up to form the native spirit of my people,
pregnant with a future where
nothing dies for long in fertile soil.

With my hair on fire with the Southern sun,
I dug among the tobacco and peanut fields,
their green stanzas swaying in the wind,
and pulled from the earth
the consonants and vowels
of this poem, uncovering words as
sharp and smooth as arrowheads,
a thousand soulful syllables, created by
ancient hands and passed down
from my great-great grandmother,
a trail of stories pulsing moist on her Cherokee tongue.

While digging for these words, ploughed
under the ground for generations, dirt
spilled from me and I went
to a place I had never known
and listened to haunting voices
I had never heard
and unearthed life
I never knew existed,
buried beneath
the sacred Southern soil.




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