Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina. Her newest collection, Love Child’s Hot Bed of Occasional Poetry, will be published by Northwestern University Press in April 2020.
A poem from the South Carolina Music Issue.
Clara Smith, Blues woman. They share
a room with no peephole, old gal,
young gal, they laugh and tell the boys
who want to stop by, they’s roommates.
. . . . Whenever they look at me they see Civil War. Rape. The
great historical dismissive black boy walk away. When they shoot
me and leave me in the street for four hours facedown on the hot
summer pavement while my mother screams on the porch they
see sugar plantations melting in the distance.
The slow dance of the Civil War and the enslavement of Black people in America are my working metaphors for the poem known as The Battle of and for the Black Face Boy.