Plantation Wedding


In the middle of my lecture

 on antebellum plantation life


 Lydia Maria Child

 and William Lloyd Garrison

pronged slave collars              hung

 with iron Christmas bells ringing

 and Kara Walker’s oeuvre

 a recasting of slavery

for the next generation

 I finally vocalize a question

 I’ve suppressed

 while binge-watching episodes

 of Say Yes to the Dress

An inquiry prompted

 by southern belles

 with visions of Scarlett

 dancing through their heads

 and modelling some confection

 like the curtain dress admired by Rhett



 would any woman

 stage her twenty-first century wedding

 on a plantation

 where masters slaked their lust

 on the shivering bodies

 of black boys and girls?


Out in the fields

 blood seeps

 from cowhided backs

 shouldering rough cotton sacks

 the ghosts of slaves

silent and watching



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