One

Under the pile,
as the stacked bodies
came to be called,
they found
one,
not poisoned
not shot,
but suffocated
under the deadweight
of her mother
and father.

Twenty-five pounds
pressed facedown
into the earth
with the urgent desire
of a farmer
who knows that the village
crop will not survive
under cloudless skies
but plants his seeds
nonetheless.

(This poem is from the collection Jonestown: A Vexation by Carmen Gillespie. Dr. Gillespie was a Professor of English and the Director of the Griot Institute of Africana Studies at Bucknell University until her death on August 30, 2019. Her complete collection of writings for the jonestown report may be found here.)

Originally posted on July 25th, 2013.

Last modified on October 15th, 2019.
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