Heads (Part II) by Shane McCrae

2. Captured and Returned to His Master

Some niggers isn’t and they is

Never gonna be and them I known

And I remember best

is niggers I seen dead     / Remember even

the breaths they was

always breathing breathing like how when

The master come     into the fields     the fields is changed

Their breathing come

Into the wind     as we was marching

and the wind was changed

And it become like fruit we marching could

pluck from the air

The wind was fruit the air was trees

We marching could     eat and be satisfied

Them niggers isn’t and they never was as we was

marching full of how we was

Each of us gonna kill a hundred white men each

a hundred and we knew it was

More niggers anyway than whites

on the German Coast

The death in us was bigger than the life in us

except for some of us     it seems like now

And them the niggers got their heads cut off

mounted on poles

on the roads     into the city New Orleans

The white men recognized them mounted them

to make the air

Rotten and come from them / Rotten

the meat in their necks hanging down

Like ivy on the gates of heaven