Knowledge, admonition, lessons. The uses of the dead.
Tongues of grass flick at my booted feet on this old road
furrowed between a rank and file of graves. Stone tongues,
civilian casualties in secret U.S. war reports, entombed.
There is no afterlife except our after. Winter ice, the snow
burying the dead grass, the unmarked bodies, a potter’s
field, vessels broken and forgot so close to us. The Army
shoveling millions of words over what really happened.
Some of us with hoe and spade in the wreckage, unburying.
Pratt arrested for civil disobedience against U.S. military intervention in Central America, c. 1984. Photo credit: Joan E. Biren (JEB)
Minnie Bruce Pratt is a lesbian writer and white anti-racist, anti-imperialist activist, who was educated in the great liberation struggles of the 20th century through grass-roots organizing with women in the army-base town of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and through teaching at historically Black colleges. Her most recent book of poetry is “Inside the Money Machine” (Carolina Wren Press).
Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as The New Verse News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review. Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri. She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.