February 27, 2013KR OnlinePoetry

After the Uprising

[haiku url=”https://www.kenyonreview.org/wp-content/uploads/mccrae-2-27-13.mp3″] [download label=”Download the audio”]https://www.kenyonreview.org/wp-content/uploads/mccrae-2-27-13.mp3[/download]

Well some of us escaped
into the swamp and some of us
Snuck back quick to our masters      and our masters knew
who stayed and who

Ran with the rebels to      / Kill with the rebels
still      / Some of us snuck back quick
we knew we valuable
Besides you kill a man you can’t

Murder him forever
not even for that stretch of forever
white folks own
but only negroes get

old in      and some of us
snuck back heavy
like how the first thing I
Done with my freedom was I thought

Who do I got to kill
to get all the way free
And it was      more people than it was
alive in the world

Photo of Shane McCrae
Shane McCrae’s most recent books are The Gilded Auction Block (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018) and In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), which won the 2018 Anisfield-Wolf Prize for Poetry, was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the William Carlos Williams Award, and was nominated for the 2018 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. He has received a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Award, and a fellowship from the NEA. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.