Catherine Sasanov

 

C:\Users\rodica\AppData\Local\Temp\Catherine Sasanov Photo.JPG

 

 
 

(USA)

 

 

Ode to the Lost Slave Cemeteries

 

(Greene County, Missouri Ozarks)

 

They’ve plowed the fields

where death’s

 

held down

 

beneath squat, illiterate

stone.  So much

 

dusty, windblown blood.

The type

 

that rarely died in bed.

 

Can’t you taste

long shadows

 

cast from drops of it? 

Screams blown

 

from farm to farm?

 

Developers want you

to know:

 

There is no eternal rest

 

where slaves, dead infants,

share a bed.

 

No grounds man comes

to soothe their sleep,

 

tuck in

the anonymous grass.

 

(And the wound

through which I’m looking

 

out at this?  All lacy curtains,

pane

 

of glass.  Domesticated

festering.  All the blood

 

washed off my hands.)

 

Bulldozed,

backhoed –

 

Once destruction came

intimate

 

as a man

striding in with his fear

 

of ghosts, his metal

on a stick.

 

Now hearsay’s the map.

It leads to this: back

 

where the living

were once alive

 

to visit.  Down where

the city sprawls

 

all over it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 

Catherine Sasanov is the author of the poetry collections Traditions of Bread and Violence (Four Way Books, 1996), All the Blood Tethers (Northeastern University Press, 2002), and Had Slaves (Firewheel Editions, 2010), written out of her discovery of slaveholding among her Missouri ancestors.  She is also the librettist for Las Horas de Belén: A Book of Hours, commissioned by Mabou Mines.  Las Horas, a Mexican-U.S. theater collaboration, explores the religious, economic, and institutional prisons women have found themselves in, from the Colonial period through the present, in Mexico City.   Sasanov lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Her website is catherinesasanov.com.

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