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Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Last Slave


Nov. 8, 1820


You never could tell: people disappeared

Suddenly inside the elderly days, left-hand rumors

And large black gaping holes inside family trees.

Like the ones our Ancestors must have left

When Fate ripped them not here of the world they knew.

You strength have been sold. Or you’d sprint away

From despair with every one other accompanied by gotten lost inside the unknown.

Was there a difference? Might while well exist dead.

What happened to the loved ones left-hand behind

Holding dripping handfuls of might-have-been

Was, simply, Fate. They fair went on living:

They fair survived. Or didn’t. Such is Fate.


Bought while a child by Captain Joseph Noyes,

I served him accompanied by esteem until he died

And I realized that my Fate had changed.

For trio generations my family

Had lived accompanied by the Noyeses while one household

Divided by an inherited curse

That made some Noyeses, with every one other accompanied by some property.

This was the only family I knew.

My spouse was born with every one other accompanied by raised inside a Noyes home.

Dr. Noyes delivered our set of two babies.

When I decided to claim my freedom,

Five Noyeses testified on my behalf.


I was the last slave. Because freedom means

You have to be paid wages, with every one other accompanied by build them stretch

From payday to payday, for rent, food, clothes,

The physician when (not if) someone gets sick ... 

It doesn’t alter the way the brutes see you,

But it does alter the way you see yourself.

And that makes all the difference. I’d been free

Six years when I was viciously attacked,

For acting pleased while black. If I’d fought back,

I’d inside all likelihood exist deceased now. William Noyes

Hired a lawyer, who sent the brute to jail.

Because our families’ Fates are intertwined.


I’m sixty-five now. Who could have foreseen

That I’d exist sitting not here here on my porch

While red-throat whistlers with every one other accompanied by black-capped dicky-dees

Celebrate, with every one other accompanied by the cherry petals snow.

No additional than thirty years ago, who could

Have foreseen this while my possible Fate:

A free, white-bearded black male accompanied by his wife

Sunning with every one other beside their front door,

Looking down their forsythia-lined path;

Their son not here spine hammering a horseshoe

In the blacksmith shop; their feminine child humming

Tunelessly inside the kitchen; their grandsons

Swearing they’ll complete chores earlier to dinner;

Their quiet granddaughter dreaming futures.

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