Gregory Luce


“Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of
the trees.”—
Stonewall Jackson’s last words

Sorry, General, those trees have been
sold down the river for a cemetery
and your statue is going
to follow them, not the cargo
you fought to keep flowing,
nor the precious muscle
and bone you thought
you could own. Let the cotton
rot in the fields, the tobacco
desiccate and crumble, the wheels
fall off the wagons. Let the levees
collapse and the rivers—Tennessee,
Rappahannock, Missouri, Appomattox,
Potomac, Mississippi—overflow,
wash away the bloody stains.


Gregory Luce, author of Signs of Small Grace, Drinking Weather, Memory and Desire, Tile, and Riffs & Improvisations, has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In addition to poetry, he writes a monthly column on the arts for Scene4 magazine. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA.