- Lynching Postcard, and: Beyond the Bridge: A Lynched Woman Speaks
I want to imagine there is no rope hankeringfor a brown woman's throat—the asterismthat was her voice. Next, that her arches reston something as firm yet giving as loam.There is no faceless mob. No ambivalenttree line. No sepia stream below. No proverbs.No promised land—My God—what is leftfor her but an absence of light? Whose ancestorcould she possibly be now? I want to reachfor her ring-finger hand. I want to tidy her hair.Button her sleeves. Smooth the wrinkles fromher dress. Set the angle of her head back to whereher spine has not yet given way to the pressureof hand-rolled hemp and gravity's blurred desire.I want to open her eyes. Tell her one-hundredyears later that she should have been born a gustof cobalt, a blue ember against the graniteswathe of sky, that she hangs on still as morethan a souvenir. [End Page 137]
Beyond the Bridge: A Lynched Woman Speaks
You wait in line alongwith everyone else,and what a body woreas flesh when they was alivedon't matter in the line.Take me—a black galfrom Kentucky with bare feetand somethin strung aroundher neck that won't falloff, not even in death,could be ahead of someoneimportant like a general.Dead folks don't talk much.Only thing on our mindis the last thoughtwe had before we died:our kinfolk, the windowwe left open on accident,our favorite color of sky,how we never imaginedwe'd die in the dirt.No matter what you askus to make conversation,we'd just say somethinthat don't match, like—I coulda given Miriamthat extra spoonfulof molasses last weekon her biscuit.And that's the main thoughtthat stays with us always.But mostly we just standinin line tryna rememberother little details like howone kinda fabric feel differentfrom another.You know, that it's burlap,not silk that's rough.At the front of the line,everyone get handedthey own piece of luggage. [End Page 138]
Inside little objectsfrom over your whole lifeadd up to cluesto wherever youposteda go next:Piece of patchworkfrom your mama's quilt.Spray of flowersfrom your beau.Coupla bobby pins.Framed portraitwith the cracked glass.Mother a pearl cufflinkyou thought you'd lost.Letter you never mailedto your sister.If you can piece itall together, all them littleshards you neverthought to pay muchmind to or forgot to notice,if you can figurewhat the worldwas tryna tell you all along,you get to move on towhatever come next.Only problem is,you been waitin in lineforgettin just about everythingyou ever did know.So you gotta head backthe way you come,start nosin aroundfor clues from the livin.But it mighta been fiveyears or five hundredsince you been back.Things move around so fastwhen you get outta line.Kinfolk gone,moved on,or dead.House soldor knocked downfor somethin new.Streets change. [End Page 139] Land dipswhere it usedta dive.Even the stars'll burnout if you wait.Sometimes,when you get a little shiverfor no real reason,a rash of goosefleshlike someone run a new leafbetween your shoulder blades,don't worry none.It's just one of uswayfarin haints,shufflin around, waitinfor somethin that'll leadus to whatever bridgewill let us cross to anywherebut from wherewe already been. [End Page 140]
Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow, Bianca Spriggs is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Lexington, Kentucky. Bianca is a recipient of the 2013 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry and multiple grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and has been a Pushcart Prize Nominee. In partnership with the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association...