Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutiérrez is a recent Oregon Literary Fellowship recipient. She participated in this fall’s Delve, Haunting Legacies: Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Contemporary Representations of Slavery, and crafted a poem inspired by the seminar’s discussions:
Toni Morrison’s Beloved Story
This is not a story to pass on. This is
a story that will eat you clean.
Start with your heart,
end with your feet. All four of them.
This is not a story to pass on. This
is a story that can break your neck.
From a rope on a tree,
from a handsaw near a mother’s milk.
This is a story that can’t set you free.
Free of neck jewelry or ankle
chain-ups at breakfast or
a tree spreading its red branches
across your back. This is a story
about a red ribbon in a pocket,
a red neck in a mother’s arms,
and a red ghost with the face
of 60 million or more.
By: Cindy Williams Gutiérrez