NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 85

7. when Perry Lee’s horse went lame he stayed behind while Jackson moved on toward Okfuskee the story goes that Jackson changed horses twice culled a new steed from a moving pack of wild ones a habit he did not break until age caught up with him until one sheriff too many sent him running west again a new moon had come and gone before he returned by that time Perry Lee had readied the house for their ma’am stacked wood by a south wall to keep winds at bay all for nothing when Jackson returned with only Dora Emma sitting tall in the saddle more man than woman sunburnt in Indian garb beads braided in her hair 8. 83 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE she told them how their ma’am died chopping wood when the axe slipped and no one there to stop the bleeding said their mother’s people took her in for the time being said the time ran out when Jackson showed up Perry wanted Jackson to come home with him and Dora to be a family that wouldn’t have to go looking for each other until he saw Jackson was bent on striking out on his own where he said man horse and rabbit all had the same chances and nobody asking them to jump Jim Crow said he had to get to getting’ end of Civil War or not Jackson stayed with them as far as the mighty river loaded them on the steamboat its massive wheels churning grey water where jack salmon dived for cover