Die with it in you, he said,
and so I did, quiet,
the way women should.
That ballad they say I sang
was never mine. If they would not
let me speak of why I grasped that axe,
how could they let me sing?
What words could I own
to speak of the pieces they found,
in staggered stages
requiring three graves?
No, I carried that secret; his, mine, ours–
the blood of it heavier than iron, with me
into air, and later freed back to earth,
which accepts everything, that place
where all we know and do not speak
waits to be uncovered by those
who will never flesh out fossilized pain
or read the voice of it,
scribed in the center of old bone.
Based (loosely) on the story of Frankie Silver