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