Number Three

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

For James Cameron

Marion, IN, August 7, 1930

Thomas and Abram were gone, but the lynch mob, as it happens sometimes,
stopped to pose beneath the tree, happy crows under the dangle, and I
wondered for a second if that was enough, if they were going to feel
if that was the eye and tooth they were hungry for that night. If like
the Sheriff, who was beginning to sweat his regret to the crowd, a
pardon might bleed me free, or at least to trial. But they rallied, and motherless,
I was chanted out of the sledge-hammered cell, lifted like a child.

Sometimes (and God forgive the vanity) the thought occurs that
I might know Christ, as he tred his last mile to the planks and nails. At least I
feel it when I dream of mine, and I’ve dreamt it often; my body, dragged at ruffian pace,
like if I could catch one white eye as I’m beaten towards the thirsty limbs,
a world might be won. This could have been his last disappointment as
motherless, our steps were pelted by fury. I was courting angels,
child, before the posse stalled. Each day I button my collar, I know my neck is rare.


Cornelius Eady

Cornelius Eady

Cornelius Eady  is the author of eight books of poetry, including Hardheaded Weather: New and Selected Poems (Putnam, April 2008). His second book,Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, won the Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets in 1985; in 2001 Brutal Imagination was a finalist for the National Book Award. His work in theater includes the libretto for an opera, “Running Man,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1999. His play, “Brutal Imagination,” won Newsday’s Oppenheimer award in 2002.

In 1996 Eady co-founded, with writer Toi Derricotte, the Cave Canem summer workshop/retreat for African American poets. More than a decade later, Cave Canem is a thriving national network of black poets, as well as an institution offering regional workshops, readings, a first book prize, and the summer retreat.

Eady has been a teacher for more than twenty years, and is now a professor at Notre Dame University.

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