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

Delve Poetry by Cindy Williams Gutiérrez