Talking to the Bones: Talking

Talking to the Bones: Talking

These are part of a series of poems exploring Manhattan’s African Burial Ground. Learn more.

Spirit of a New York Negro Revolutionary War Soldier buried in the Kalk Hook section of the Negro Burial Ground

That Kalk Hook farm was uppermost?

I promise: a sky beyond the sky will burn in this earth

What of war?

We were soldiers of fortune’s misfortune

Were all of you grown?

Just brogans gagging in the sand

And no one to bury you?

Death tends itself

No one to order a coffin?

I obeyed the orders of life and Lord Dunmore

Columbia University grave robbery of New York’s Negro Burial Ground: a rumination

What of what’s happened here?

There should be space for spaces sacred enough not to desecrate

Most people don’t even know

Memories cannot be jarred like jams and jellies

Digging into what’s been dug up has been difficult

Clinging to coffins, deceased should be death’s pectin

What should people be left with?

Decency—sticky thing when ’ceased was slaves




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