Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


All the Trees of the Field Shall Clap Their Hands

Josefa Segovia was tried, convicted & hanged on July 5, 1851, in Downieville, California, for killing an Anglo miner, a man who the day before had assaulted her.


Are the knees & elbows 

     the first knots  
 
                     the dead untie?
 
       I swing from a rope
 
                     lashed
 
       to a beam. Some men
 
along the Yuba river
 
               toss coins
 
         into the doubling water.
 
                   Visible skin.
 
            Memorable hair.
 
     Imagine: coal, plow,
 
                     rust, century.
 
                 All layers
 
         of the same palabra.
 
                                       Once
 
I mistook a peach pit
 
               on a white dish
 
         for a thumbprint.
 
   Wolf counselor.
 
                       Reaper.
 
             Small rock.
 
   The knot just under
 
       my right ear
 
whispers God is gracious,
 
             God will

increase. The soul,
 
                   like semen,

       escapes
 
the body
 
         swiftly.

Credit


Copyright © 2012 by Eduardo Corral. From Slow Lightning (Yale University Press, 2012). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Author


Eduardo C. Corral

Eduardo C. Corral is the author of Slow Lightning (Yale University Press, 2012), which was chosen by Carl Phillips as the 2011 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

Date Published: 2016-03-22

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/all-trees-field-shall-clap-their-hands