Slave Quarters, Old Plantation, Savannah, Georgia (from Amerika 1926)


This week I’ll be publishing daily poems written in response to photographs from E.O. Hoppe’s Amerika: Modernist Photographs from the 1920s (2007, ed. Phillip Prodger). Some of these I may compile into a manuscript (tentatively: Amerika 1926). This is poem #2.

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Slave Quarters, Old Plantation, Savannah, Georgia, 1926 by E.O. Hoppe

Slave Quarters, Old Plantation, Savannah, Georgia

Five brick houses, lined neatly in a row beneath the trees, each
a single room with two windows, a chimney, and a warning:

God sees everything, but I see more. And where would you go?
When freed, they did the same work for the same people.

One wonders what they said in these walls, if they still speak
and worry and cry across Amerika. Of course they do,

these quarters are not homes but holding cells.

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