Here Were Buried
On the anniversary of the largest mass hanging is US history in Mankato, Minnesota
in blue earth, among willows, aisles
of box-elder, elms, in the silence between
on the sand-bar in front
of town, south of the bend in the river
south of the prison camp
on the floor two-by-two in chains
a short horse-cart or army-wagon ride
west of the town square
the strict formation
of soldiers, cavalry, civilian mobs
around the scaffold, twenty-four feet square
twenty high, a gallows
for the procession in bonds, white-hoods
a slow drum, the signal-beat for the knife
the day after Christmas
a week before emancipation
thirty-eight Dakota in unison death song
thirty-eight in two rows
feet together, their crowns
Used by permission.
Adam Wiedewitsch is editor at Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art, and co-founded the international organization, Pirogue Collective. He co-edited the anthology Imagine Africa and The Rule of Barbarism, poems by Abdellatif Laabi, both available from Island Position; and has been the recipient of fellowships from the Gorée Institute (Senegal), the Eva Tas Foundation (Holland), DAAD (Berlin), Millay Colony (New York) and Ledig House International Writers Residency (New York). His poetry has been published in Carapace (South Africa), New Contrast (South Africa), and Azul Press (Holland).
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