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Inheritance

Jackson Village Road

by Marlanda Dekine

You grew from your granddaddy’s dirt
and evergreen spaces.

There are gorgeous collard colored-greens, ripe
yellows turning to golden reds, hanging
from brown and moss-smothered trunks, standing tall
all over the land he left.

A Black man, last name Jackson, quietly purchased
land from a white man and sold acres of unworkable plots
to your great-granddaddy.

Your granddaddy, Silas, filled the swamp
with dirt gathered from the woods he slept beneath
as a runaway child.

On the south side of his house is where he used to plant.
His brain
was a farmer’s almanac scaled with voices and visions.
This, too, is your inheritance.
His greens reached and sprawled
beyond his containers, spilling into all his children’s
kitchen sinks.

His mother and the life in his eyes died
when he was ten years old. Your granddaddy was already
all different kinds of blue

          reaching spreading
                          going on and on and on
                              talking to people he could not see.


This poem was first published in the Inheritance Issue (vol. 28, no. 3).

Marlanda Dekine‘s poetry collection Thresh & Hold (Hub City Press, 2022) is the winner of the 2021 New Southern Voices Poetry Prize. Dekine is a Watering Hole Fellow, Tin House Scholar, and Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellow. They live in South Carolina with their wise dog Malachi.

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