At the Lynching Museum, Bryan Stevenson Says / Signs Nailed to the Mailbox on Winnequah Road / Reparations

At the Lynching Museum, Bryan Stevenson Says

— National Memorial for Peace and Justice – Montgomery, Alabama



Signs Nailed to the Mailbox on Winnequah Road

they won’t say
empire

nailed to the mailbox

they won’t say
perpetual war

nailed to the mailbox

they won’t say
black babies
twice as likely

nailed to the mailbox

they won’t say
welfare
for corporations

nailed to the mailbox

black
new moms
four times as likely

nailed to the mailbox

institutional
racism + sexism
=
early black death

nailed to the mailbox

trickle down
economics
+ three jobs
=
no living at all

nailed to the mailbox

who we pipe
cradle to prison
to grave

nailed to the mailbox

your
Sapphire Preferred
Citi Card
bankrolls
private prisons

nailed to the mailbox

in case of
emergencies
of white fragility
close eyes
for comfort

nailed to the mailbox

they will say
for your own damn good

nailed to the mailbox

they will say
the 1%
sticky & sweet

nailed to the mailbox

they will say
you’re not from here

nailed to the mailbox

what if your
family
was rotting
in detention camps
in the desert?

nailed to the mailbox

drinking from the toilet
your cell
standing room only

nailed to the mailbox

what if your
kids
were in cages?

nailed to the mailbox

“Vladimir buddy
don’t meddle” (again)
wink wink

nailed to the mailbox

smash
the patriarchy

nailed to the mailbox

the American dream

Reparations

The auction block
still rides

on the black backs
of ghosts

hurling themselves
town to town

on furious horses
dawn noon and night

these emaciated
shadows

sawing every
gnarled branch

every chiseled rafter
that held them

each skeleton hand
that shackled

that swung
rifles whips batons

dynamite and gasoline
into Trailways buses

churches homes
now video—

phone
the best chance

still Eric Garner
can’t breathe

and everything
I’ve ever seen here

was built first
on black

brown
yellow skins

and blood
always blood

and bones
as any other

Dominic W. Holt is a poet and macro social worker (public policy and outreach) in Madison, WI. He taught writing at the University of Michigan, interned at the Michigan Quarterly Review, and received a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship in creative writing from the US Department of Education. He holds an MFA in creative writing and a Master of Social Work in social policy from the University of Michigan, and a BS in astrophysics from Indiana University. His work has appeared in Plainsongs, Stoneboat, Wisconsin People & Ideas, Hummingbird, Driftwood Press, Lifeboat, and other venues.