“My husband’s mother wanted to take the family portrait
at Carnton Plantation. I was the only person she called to ask
if it was okay. She said we could redeem the land with our picture—
my brown skin acrostic to the row of their white. She said can’t we
just let the past be the past. I was silent, my cell phone glowing
warm against my cheek. I was driving, red light—then go. She said
it’s practically in my backyard and that her boys played on buckled
fields of green graves growing up—there are so many fun places to shoot!
Oh and that big magnolia is in bloom—fragrant milky petals and waxy
greens by the red brick house, and the large front porch with rocking chairs
tipping back and forth above the purpled stains of Confederate blood. I
said it was fine as long as we weren’t by the slave cabins, and she laughed
and I laughed, which is to say—I wasn’t joking at all…”
Read the entire poem at Poets.org.