Charity on Blind Tom
They say Tom takes darkness and makes it moan.
by Tyehimba Jess
I was his darkness. And Lawd, did I moan
when he came out to light. And moaned some more
when his eyes wouldn't catch sight. Don't
no plantation need no stumble-blind slave—
I hid him much as I could, but no way
could I keep his body's ‘fliction away
from Master Epps. Blind, slow niggas don't pay
nothin on auction block or in the field.
More trouble than they worth -better off dead,
said most white folk. I tell you—I had to kneel
deep in the dirt for that music in his head—
for General Bethune to buy us like gifts—
I had no idea Tom would make him rich.