NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 106

By TYEHIMBA JESS Hagar in the Wilderness Carved Marble. Edmonia Lewis, 1875 The enemy buried me with my brothers in blue. Our bloodlines mingled in the mangled, makeshift ditch, burrowed beneath sand and grit to huddle in Earth’s quarried memory. We lay head to head, bone to bone with eternity. Then, her hands summoned me: bade marble breathe these eyes, speak these lips. So, I face the world again, wishing I could call my men, once more, to stand at attention… Rigby, who’d drawl curses on Rebs while drawing Colt revolvers; Alison, who’d sworn not to die ‘til whipping his old master, his father, before his freed mother’s eyes; Roper, his every inch mapped with lashmarks that branded his route through hell… and 1100 more in the ‘54 with 1100 blue - black stories to tell. Her hands somehow searched out each tale those men carved into my face, scraping away marmoreal myths that define which race might rule. She cut dark witness into this bust that carries forth my image: proof that, in the end, it’s immortal stone that wins when we’re all dead and f