beneath the antique spanish moss
of bitter nostalgia,
beneath decades and centuries of blood-letting,
it hangs like ghosts --
pale, with a uniquely death-like life--
breathtaking in its beauty.
From the gallows of knotted oaks, willows, elms
nostalgia tastes like salt and iron:
Nourishing, Enlightening, Bloody in your mouth.
Like Forgiveness, Bitterness
Anger and Relief.
It feels like labored breaths under Georgia heat
and Mississippi humidity
and Louisiana summer storms
Oppressive with the promise of better days
sucked from praying fingertips
and craned neck bones, fragile little things
bestowed piecemeal, and with hesitation
Freedom! It is upon us!
A few years ago my family planned a macabre road trip from New Orleans to Mississippi, visiting restored slave plantations along the way. Most notable was Evergreen Plantation in Edgard, Louisiana, with it's epic and antique oak trees laced generously with spanish moss. It was beautiful -- honorably preserved but stripped of the blood and sweat that made it so impressive. We were offered a sepia-toned southern comfort slaves of the time would never be able to appreciate. I wrote about this trip for Autostraddle.com back when it was fresh in my memory, but found myself recalling it after Charlottesville more abstractly, and yet more vividly. This is the result.