North to Alaska, Poetry
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3. Montgomery, Alabama is Haunted

3. North to Alaska: Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 Life Out Here

How do you keep going when things keep changing? 

Montgomery, Alabama is haunted. 

By lonesome whippoorwills

among the whisperings

and the camellias

and the pines. 

Steepled shadows on Dexter Avenue

and the cold bronze likeness of the little woman who started it all. 

On her corner she stands 

no tired bone in her body, 

demurely resistant.

Hank by the Riverboat emulates the blue

spirit which haunts the depot 

the auction block of the Slave Trade

amid tourists and businessmen and businesswomen

of international proportions

who sip sweet tea and observe 

segregated water fountains old as their parents

now housed in museums, 

unused

yet the Alabama River pushes past port city, 

its emptied cottonfields,

storied hillsides of buried legends, 

stray musket balls, 

the green-copper fountain 

which cries out in living color: Black Lives Matter

A city haunted by a hundred more icons than we care to see

or spirits like witch’s hair

unbothered to fuss about their connection 

to the Cradle of the Confederacy,

the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Images: Izaak on our last evening in MGM; view from the “Hank and Audrey Memorial” bench; Christ watching over the headstone hillside; MLK’s Church; Rosa’s Memorial; the Fountain; Maya’s Quote at the EJI; and Abigail, circa 2018.

Cover Photo: Dan Pratt Cotton Gin in Prattville, AL (which is probably haunted for real).

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