(Editor’s Note: NonDoc provides Sundaze as a weekly space for poetry, short prose, visual art and other ideas pitched by creatives in Oklahoma and around the world. If your new year’s resolution is to take more chances, submit your work for publication by contacting Editorial@NonDoc.com.)
A comic by Mike Allen
by James Coburn
I touch a bale of cotton.
Fingers pull strands covering a white field
clothing history, a lesson written
in the scars of innocents, brought
against their will
within a ship’s belly from Africa.
I flinch as a field hand’s sweat
ulcerates my poet’s tongue.
She carries a child within, balancing
the weight of cotton on her head.
Excuses for slavery
prick my hand until the blood
is so heavy, generations of black men,
women and children imprint
a path to block the slave master.
Ten fingers turn to into tens-of-thousands
to hear freedom flow down a Georgia river,
out of bank, crossing free will,
breaking beyond a birth right denied.
I blink to cross another river
spurred by coyotes, human trafficking.
A river swelling with children dispossessed,
as our ancestors did, except paying a price to cross the Rio Grande.
Carrying his burden far from home,
a boy’s hand reaches up to scratch
at a door locked against him.
Human freight inside a train.
Pants turn breathless as some
who will never know of him,
say freedom is not free.
Coyotes howl down the tracks
breaking promises, scattering in the wind.
Scream into the silence.
Coyotes howl down tracks.