Louisiana Cotton

“I could never imagine”

these are my thoughts, gazing out at a field of Louisiana cotton.

Sun beating relentlessly on the back of my neck,

and I can’t help but let the tears flow down my sunburnt cheeks.

For me, this field represents a horrific past,

but for her, it’s memories.

Granny doesn’t talk much about those days.

I asked once, what it was like; told me I was too little.

“Wickedness like that ain’t for story time, wickedness like that wasn’t a story it was our life,” she said.

And right now I can see her.

She relives a life many would choose to forget.

I watch her, in her trance… lost in the sea of white,

remembering long hot days, stooped over, satchel on hip,

fingers bloodied from a long day of pickin’.

I admire her.

“It wasn’t all bad,” she tells me in her thick Louisiana accent.

This place is her home.

“I learned to appreciate what I got. Ain’t hard when you ain’t got much, pick a pound of

cotton, bet you’ll never hug a blanket the same”.

She laughs, I laugh behind the tears, we laugh together,

putting the ugliness of the past behind us, but we both know

there’s so much farther to go.

The way she sighs makes me realize she knows so much that I don’t,

I study her… the lines in her face, each tell a different story

the small hump in her back, can’t blame old age for that… years bent over

in a field will do that.
Scars on her back, that I’ll never see on purpose… a part of her is still ashamed.

Hands – no matter how tender her touch, will never be soft.

They’re weathered and calloused…hands of a hard life that I gladly take

in mine as we walk down dirt roads, reminiscing… she talks

and I try to inhale all of her…her wisdom, strength, beauty…

How did she learn to forgive…. I wonder

but that was years ago.. Granny is gone and I’m grown now.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Newspaper headline: Georgia: Did They Kill an Innocent Man, Troy Davis Executed

Newspaper headline: After 13 Years, James Bryd Jr.’s Murderer Executed.

I wonder if those families will ever learn to forgive,

wonder if it’s hard to find forgiveness on the bloodied, dirt roads of Jasper, Texas

or at the tip of needles put into the arms of reasonable doubt.

Win one, lose one, no one is the winner.

Maybe justice is only blind outside of Jim Crow Country

where the darkness of the night sky doesn’t bring on memories of billy clubs

— nothing peachy or sweet about Georgia that night but it’s definitely on their minds.

Fast forward.

September 25, 2016.

173 bodies lay six feet deep, lives stolen and shattered by the hands of the police.

They’re calling them a legal lynchings, something like August 6, 1930 and the world gathered to watch…

I hold onto my blanket thinking about a pound of cotton and how we aren’t as far as we thought… guess black presidents don’t change much… pretty sure if it was up to some, the world would really see evil at its finest

Can’t help thinking what was going through their minds.

How does it feel to die before death has taken soul from body

and how do you find strength to offer blessings to those that forsake you.

I feel the tears roll down my cheek,

this will never be told to my little ones during story time… wickedness like this should never be shared.

My head aches with questions; too many that I don’t have the answer to.

If granny was here, I’m sure she’d know what to tell me; offer up some comforting truth,

and I realize that I’m not as grown as I think.

Still just a little girl with no understanding of the world;

only difference is I don’t have granny’s hand to hold,

and there is no comfort to be found in Louisiana cotton fields.

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