Stolen and Sold

May 17, 2008
By Betty Chen, Plano, TX

Stolen away from their homes
in the cover of darkness.
Chained and shackled
speared and killed.
It makes no difference to those with the power-
these people are chattel now-property.
Thrust into the hold of a ship,

eons away from home.
They know nothing-
not this strange language

nor these strange habits.

They can only seek comfort by
retreating within themselves.
They whisper in a language
that no one else knows.

Finally, the incessant rocking stops.
Those that can rise from above the carnage
of those who couldn’t-

These are the strongest of them all.
These are the ones who hung on.

Fathers look for sons.
Daughters look for mothers.
All hoping that their loved ones are there-
The air fills with cries,
wails and sobs

laments and moans.
It is a daughter here,
a mother there.
That family over there?
That one will never see their father again.

But what they do not know
is that soon-

they will be taken from hands that hang on.
That soon-
the bonds of love that kept them together

will be shattered apart.

They are cleaned up-
as best as possible
and forced onto a stage.
They stand there unknowingly and alone,
before a gaggle of geese,

all here to watch the execution.

One by one, they go through this strange ritual,
families torn apart,
hearts broken.
Until the day-
Thursday the third Day,

of August next,
is over.
Ninety four prime, healthy negroes,
consisting of

thirty-nine men,

fifteen boys,

twenty-four women,

and sixteen girls.

Ninety-four souls.

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