For President’s Day

For President’s Day 2015

Lisa Cox

“. . .until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword. . . “(Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural Address)

What choice
Is this?
What cruelty
Chained
Us to
This legacy?
It is not
Mine you say-
You say
This evil came
And
Went
No different
Than any
Other visited
By man
But we. . .
We dear sir,
We are born of
Women
This belongs to
Us
Those lashes;
That blood
Fertilized the
Cotton that
Bought and paid
For every great
Thing that makes
Our life better
It laid the foundation
Of our exceptionalism
Do not speak
Of those who suffered
As historical figures
Who have no sway
Dismiss them
As 3/5
Then tout
Imaginary founders
Founts of wisdom
They are bound
Together
Masters and slaves
In this history
Our constitution
Crippling
This present
With distortions
Of praise for men
Who did nothing
For those who toiled
And built this country
And yet their words
Rang out
To declare independence
To declare all men created equal
Do you think I make little
Of the work of freemen?
Those who also toiled?
They toiled in freedom,
They reaped the benefit
Of their work,
They moved forward
While the enslaved
Stayed behind
We are still there
stuck
In those fields
Waiting for acknowledgement
Waiting for you to know
To know that
That they
The slaves
Made this
Country great
That their toil
Flowered into
The wealth
Of this great nation
And even today
The ancestors of
Slavery make this
Country great
And that we
Would be less without
Them

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