Marvin White & L. Lamar Wilson

from left to right: Marvin White and L. Lamar Wilson


We Do Not Know Her Name

                                 --L. Lamar Wilson
I do not know her name, but without her,
we do not have a name. No name, no face,
no place with your people, my people. You
have forgotten us, the tawny ones like my great-
grandmother, like Chief Osceola's Morning Dew,
the drops of your blood mixed with ours,
how you fought for her honor & ours,
because we were wronged, together. My hero,
your Osceola, loved his Morning Dew,
got his wife's brothers – my ancestors
& yours – to soak the Florida soil, the Georgia clay,
with a richer red. Her seeds, your seeds, legion.
Don't remember that now? How we wandered
with you along rivers now reduced to a trail,
made new homes in Okeechobee swamps, Oklahoma
& Mexico deserts. Learned Cherokee, French & Spanish.
Contigo. History's dead now. My grandfather's mother –
she's dead, too. No name, no face, no place
with my people: you. Only a figment
of her daughter-in-law's fading memory now,
the glaucoma & Alzheimer's clouding visions
of hair that crowned breasts & hips like a halo.
You have forgotten us. You have voted
us away from the land our blood bought.
We don't remember that now,
either. We do not know our names.

* * *

L. Lamar Wilson's poem originally appeared in Crab Orchard Review,
Summer/Fall 2009. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
All Rights Reserved.


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