bastards speak

                                                 after the murder and murderers of Gibson Gideon Chavis, and their progeny 

Gibson Gideon Chavis (1737-1777) had a racing horse named “Black Snake.” After another successful horse race, his losing opponents killed him at what is now known as “Gibbs Creek” in North Carolina.

 —Kianga Lucas, Native American Roots blog


I can feel a man

in my body—in my chest.

and no, he’s not


there to rest with my red-

bone skin.


I, a woman, can sense

man—a woman. the suffering

suffix, always fixed


to orphan, married to

some nobody’s child.


who should be spared

the hoax—this coaxing

of history?


that one’s horse got past him.

Black Snake “won him a lot

of money,” source says.


but—did he take account

the cost—this creek?


name and skull would

weaken, crack, and

simply sink


once murderers

thrashed him. I have


a thorn inside: a bänkling

a fils de bast, a bantling—

something building in me


that could kill, or bleed.

momma, if a man made me,


could I break him too?


*previous version of this poem published in Yemassee Journal