A former slave walks out of his shoes to see the land left to him.
|Black soil stains her palms.
She smells, rubs her face, full of joy,
rich Delta land, treasures in this dirt.
Fertile like a wide-hipped woman,
it will birth many seeds.
"Ephriam, come see this gift.
God has blessed us so."
Elsa feels her man hobble in pain.
Grinning wide, his worn walking stick
baptizes a path in the moist plot.
Walking miles, out of their shoes,
to find the old Waring Place.
Ephriam, now a free man of color,
had his name on Harvey Waring's will.
This plot was his, the law said so.
Ephriam, once a young field hand,
survived the Overseer's snake.
When Yankees came, blazing hate,
he saved Master Waring's women.
Came natural to protect the weak.
Now his Dina and Sary forget hunger pains.
They dance a jubilee in the dirt,
making mud pies on their Pa's land.
Elsa walks to the creek, squats down,
raises her arms, shouts praises to her Lord.
By Kathie Stehr
Edited Jan. 5, 2012