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Friday, December 12, 2008


by Garland Strother

Forty years ago my friend
Henry chained himself
to the courthouse stairs
in the timber town
of Bogalusa chanting
freedom now in the key
of Dixie, getting himself
whipped across the poor
white skin of his burnt
bald head all the way
down the justice steps
of Washington Parish.
Forty miles south of here
last month deep in piney
woods, the Klan killed
a woman who wanted
to join them, but then
changed her mind. The
Klan said no with a gun,
killing her to keep her.

A native of Tensas Parish in north Louisiana and a retired librarian, Garland Strother currently lives in River Ridge near New Orleans with his wife, Liz, also a librarian. Strother’s poems have appeared in Louisiana Review, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, Texas Review, Common Ground Review, Big Muddy, and others.