Swing Low

My sister, wearing a white turban,
sang Swing Low
as we picked up sticks
in early August
in a field my father wanted to plow
for the planting of soy
that would attract quail,
which he would shoot.

My sister and I imagined
trying to eat dead birds
at our father’s table, watching
for the crunch of shot
between our teeth.

We could never stomach
murdered food, food
that had been trapped
on a hot day, like us.
So my sister sang slave songs
even though we knew
it was wrong.

We are not black in my family.
My father is the whitest
among us.

:: Faulkner Fox, in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review #7 (1995)

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