NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 83

3. they skirted towns that looked suspicious circling to keep close to any wooded space a shadow ahead of ex-slave catchers itching to return to their trade twice a wheel broke and they had to make a soldering fire for the spokes hoping they could remember what their Pap had taught them they were looking for a colored settlement somewhere near a stream or a ridge blocking winds that carved their due on everything the way their mother’s people braved winter they looked for houses hunkered together near but away from the edges of a town 4. 81 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE story goes they knocked on doors where they saw a colored woman hanging the wash sheets meant there was a place to rest overalls meant men would soon come looking they figured their ma’am and sister made the trek late summer when she got no word after their father disappeared and all those migrating north had set the two of them running following the old trails as far as they could even though the signs that made escape easier years ago had been scrambled after the war and that mess about forty acres and a mule about who owned the land and who was working it for free