Stacey Lynn Brown

Sherman’s march snaked through the South

Sherman’s march snaked through the South
with the alliteration he felt entitled to,
ku klux clinging like a kudzu curse,
like the carpetbaggers soon to come.

Laying over in Savannah, his commanders slept
in courtyard houses on the cobbled streets
(with the silver hidden just out of view)
while the infantry camped in a cemetery,

bed rolled in diagonal lines. Taking out their
knives, they carved new relief, changing
the dates on the marble fonts, the dead now dying
long before their births.

And then that third grade history book, its chapter
The War of Northern Aggression
so convincing in its righteousness
that my friend and I agreed

it was a good thing that we’d won or else
slaves would have never been freed.
How could we be the bad
guys when everyone I knew

was decent and kind, stirred slow
like sugar melting in sun tea?