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William R. Harvey Pirate Poetry Contest Winner

Emancipation Oak and Armstrong Slater are About to Have a Conversation

Zyen Smoot

I have never known trees to collect dust
of histories never told I have never known a tree to grow so old
I have never thought buildings could creek below ceilings could leak with laughter once
overbearing now so meek
Like the lights that shine over what was once yours, and once his, and once hers
Creations for the expressions once restricted by 18th-century negligence
I have never thought art could sigh like the wind that blows through the cracks of the windows
I have never known that sculptures could create their own shadows, down the steps I had never
seen sculptures wept
But I do know trees have several branches, several faces looked at you, several faces chose a
branch, a family tree
I have never thought several faces took pictures of families, families piled into closed boxes
forgetful memories of that tree—of you
I have never thought that our history had to be hidden in order to be found
Emancipation blows through the leaves and whispers to Slater
“I’m not sure why they named you after me.”

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