empath (bones)

(a poem about lynchings)

If the Angel Oak tree could talk,
she’d tell us stories
we don’t want to hear.

Her family
has been roped
into being the backdrop
of racism’s roots,

her friends
had no choice
but to stand, stoic
through storms
that bore
strange fruit.

She’d tell you
about the relentless
weight of bones
on branches.

How trees
never wanted to be
co-stars in a play for punishment,
the background
of a soul’s curtain call
in the absurd
theatre of America.

The Angel Oak tree
has been watching
descendants of death
walk away
from the echoes
of their past
and ignore the reflections
a bloodline can cast.

She says,
“Let me
introduce you
to your shadow.”

Let me tell you
about my sisters and brothers
who were helpless
as the piercing pain of ghosts
were birthed
from innocent bodies
for show,

let me guide
your people
through my
forest of memory.

I am cursed
to live
with this pain.