Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lucille Clifton "lee" from The Terrible Stories

my mother's people
belonged to the lees
my father would say
then spout a litany
of names....old lighthorse harry
old robert e

my father
who lied on his deathbed
who knew the truth
but didn't always choose it
who saw himself as an honorable man

was proud of lee
that man of honor
praised by grant and lincoln
worshipped by his men
revered by the state virginia
which he loved almost as much
as my father did

it may have been a lie
it may have been
one of my father's tales
if so there was an honor in it
if he was indeed to be
the child of slaves
he would decide himself
that proud old man

i can see him now
chaining his mother to lee

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