The Black History of America At dawn, walking my dog, I see the black history of America. It’s like a cup of warm lye thrown into the face of democracy by an outraged, jealous ex-lover of hypocrisy. It disfigures my thoughts while we walk on the red soil following the print of the tractor's tread beside the stubble of a mowed cotton field. Finding a raccoon’s indent I stop and I look down the rows. I see the beginning of dark woods, and darker intent in the tall pines in the distance while he finds the coon’s obscure scent. I wonder if I run real fast, as fast as I can down these rows, and into the woods will I then be free from the black history of liberty? “We worked from ‘can’t see’ to ‘can’t see’ on bended knee” is part of oral history where cotton’s kingdom rose from the soil Of lowland South Carolina counties as far as the eye could see. This moment becomes a raucous blue jay bouncing on a limb of emancipation’s tree. I wonder if Jesus heard the master’s prayer as well as the slave’s ardent plea? Did John Newton’s Amazing Grace pay for his soul’s freedom or is it burning where Mourning doves woo the wind from their hidden tree? Tell me, how do you learn to talk to a man as though he’s only property? We walk where wind-felled pine, split, shows its white wood’s pearls. Drops of sap glisten in the early light like each has collected bright worlds. Something rustles in the brush, catches our attention. We stop. I hold my breath waiting for the sound of hunting hounds. I drop. My heart swirls, beats once, then, it too stops to listen. I finger their coin and cough aloud with traitorous intention. Harriet beats me to her trigger. I lay there, another dying ******. Before I pass I hear her say: “Why’d you lead them to us? Ya gotta pay.” I pull myself from dreamed death’s embrace and wonder how I found that place. We leave those woods at a faster pace. I watch a flock of crows mob a hawk. I pray. The black history of America continues growing like shadows each day on a tree-lined southern road, like unchained slaves gathering above the Amistad’s hold, like flickering tongues of fire caressing kerosene’s cross, like all we’re losing, like all we’ve lost. If February is meant to be the month to celebrate being free then let it be, but if it is the moth that will fly to the candle of America’s black history then set it free away from candle’s flame and America’s dark, unlit destiny.