You claim the reward. You buy your freedom.
You disappear—not to resurface
in deeds or contracts as a yeoman
farmer's wife or lady's maid, middle-aged
in Philadelphia. To get lost
in a country just taking form is not
an art: You arrive in a new city,
give an invented name, a history
wholesome as it is deceptive— 
like a character in a film. Or this:
You never got out of town. Encumber
your bones, combined with other bones,
to mud landfill to the river coast
on the west side south of Chambers.


Charlotte Holmes

Shannon EstlundUnder (oil on panel)

Poet's Commentary:

These six poems are from a linked  collection about the 1741 New York City Slave Conspiracy. In the trials, on the testimony of a single teenaged servant girl, over a hundred slaves were burned at the stake, hung, or sold to the West Indies.