You speak in the tremble of leaves,
the whispered crunch of maple settling in the grass
I hear you in the cries above me, as the geese
are flying west.
There isn’t much farther to go, and you and I,
end here where broken trails reign incomplete.
Your soil fed by salt water, marching through your heart.
The ruins dot your highways, and no one stops to picture
their ancestors nestled in dirty, crumbling cocoons,
sleeping beneath our feet.
Crying out from the white clay that we remade,
the red, the native, the Tennessee: erased.
Your cedar and pine burn in cast iron shells, life
and death in the light which brands our shadows.
The memorials now are rusted steel on road sides.
Today will never know
how bare feet beat your flesh, like drums against the earth
as the melody of the broken was forged on your body.