Marlin M. Jenkins
under your hand a crouching slave 1 almost naked
commemorating the proclamation that set the slaves free 2
you stand tall a hero, captain emancipator
you are the man in the memorial with a name
this nameless slave crouched looking forward
not at you not at that hand extending, what?
a blessing? an acknowledgment?
what it is not doing: offering itself to help him up
your hand on paper his on ground knee on ground
your full jacket his chin up back arched
bare and greening oxidizing in the sun, rain, under your shadow
still enslaved the day after the emancipation
and still down on a knee in our memory of you
1) excuse me, former slave
2) citation needed
MARLIN M. JENKINS was born and raised in Detroit and is a poetry student in University of Michigan's MFA program. His writings have been given homes by The Collagist, The Journal, Word Riot, and The Puritan, among others. You can find him online at marlinmjenkins.tumblr.com and @Marlin_Poet.