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Historical Site

Still it’s dark enough

this morning that I can see

the fireflies going off and on—

recording what angles

the old house’s cameras cannot

see. Something is watching me,

so I keep my distance

when I strain my eyes to read

the lit plaque

to the left of the front door.

My eyes are useless;

vision not good enough

to parse out what part of history

is important enough to warrant

bronze foundry. I overheard at Meijer

one day that some part of this house

was used to hide slaves until nightfall

when they’d follow the stars

south of here, to Canada. As often with history,

this house has been restaged. Not even the land it squats on

is the original address, the house lifted

from its foundation

a mile down the road,

yet it makes for a lovely setting for white

weddings, picnics, guided tours.

I’m afraid of this big house

when it is dark like this;

when I am dark like this.

Not a slave, I can read

and want to run

my finger across the raised lettering,

even though that would trigger some alarm;

would flood the yard with white light;

would signal the police to come

and the police would flood me with white light—

so many stars spangling all over me.

I’d be the constellation those runaways

angled their necks up to—

blinking and blinking.

from Fantasia for the Man in BlueFind more by Tommye Blount at the library

Copyright © 2020 Tommye Blount
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Poems Tommye Blount

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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