NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 84

By COLLEEN McELROY 5. Jackson and Perry Lee rode through flatlands where hills and burial mounds etched the sky wood sparrows darted among canopies of cottonwoods meadow flowers flamed colors in the tall grass coyotes kept their distance and the wind never let up they were stopped at the Kansas border because they resembled a negro man on a wanted poster some old gun slinger like Isom Dart or worse some lawman sure their features spoke of Indian roots: the eagle-like nose and dark eyes watching silent and the lawman ready to prove to the town he’d have none of the likes of them even homesteaders wanted them to move on quickly 6. 82 Jackson cut his brother’s hair and tied back his own to smudge the familiar Indian-ness at first glance they ran out of underground markers ran out of safe houses that would send them to the next town where post riders or the telegraph passed through still the air was clear of sudden fires and gun powder smells lingering those long years after the war in southern fields they were out in open country when they found the sod house empty despite the covered well and twig broom by the door the place looked lost as if no soul had ever wandered there a rabbit disappeared like quicksilver through a hole and white butterflies swirled around the grinding stone in one corner a grain basket slumped of its own weight they looked for signs to say how recent ma’am had been there truth was their mother’s people had to keep moving same as anyone wandering that side of the Mason-Dixon