Belle Brook Plantation, 1847
Cook stows it away
in apron pockets as she prepares
a meal she will not sit down to eat,
knowing, one day, others may run.
Teaspoons of crushed black gold
rubbed on the heel of boots with hope
that it will defeat the hounds.
Let those well seasoned feet run.
the Bottom Drawer
of Young Miss’s Bureau
Will Still be Full
Belle Brook Plantation, June 1851
I will take no more
than can be pinned, pocketed or remembered,
and am only carrying memories that serve me
well. I will take five coins, two loaves of bread,
a jar of Royal’s Crown pomade, scraps of paper,
a pencil nub, three straws from the broom
my Mama’s Mama jumped twice (I swept her dirt floor with it
every Sunday) and sachets of pepper sewn around the hem of my skirt
because prayers and wax sealed papers pinned to the inside of my bodice
will not keep the hounds at bay.
Telegram, as Promised
New York, April 1851
Dear Sir –STOP-
I arrived –STOP-
You have filled me –STOP-
since my blood first came –STOP-
I carry letters and words you taught –STOP-
but leave your scent in my hair behind –STOP-