No marker. Only triangular plot of grass strewn
with warm bodies leaking scents of urine from their pores.
This is “Martyrs Park” – place where River once met
bank. Three times I drive past before getting a clean
picture. At first I overshoot: Dallas County jail
is in the background. Another attempt brings me closer,
capturing the Bail Bonds, neighboring liquor stores.
Timing must be perfect before I am able to freeze
the name of trees so short they should be shrubs covering
homeless bodies resting atop remains of those long dead.
April Sojourner Truth Walker is a second year MFA candidate at Hollins University. She is currently working on a manuscript that interweaves the narrative of three slaves lynched in Dallas, Tx as the result of an 1860 fire, and how this piece of African American history has been preserved and disseminated in present day Dallas. Her work is forthcoming in The New Sound: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Art and Literature, the Cave Canem Anthology XIII: Poems 2012-2013, and Kalyani Magazine.
“This poem comes from Walker’s current creative project, which interweaves the narratives of three slaves lynched in Dallas, TX as a result of an 1860 fire. In particular, Walker’s poetry explores the preservation and dissemination of African American historical events. What’s more, her poetic approach explicitly takes up the unwieldiness of documentary poetics, which includes the trauma of remembering and the anxieties related to bequeathing and inheriting a local legacy of racialized violence. She uses the sources at hand—archives, family stories, &c.—to paint a present-day landscape of Dallas that is littered and ignited by the horrors of the past.” — Geffrey Davis
Next issue features Chip Livingston.