A Suggestion

Helen Plane, a Civil War widow and charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, spearheaded the first attempt to carve the Stone Mountain memorial. She, too, was a Klan sympathizer. After Gutzon Borglum was chosen as the monument’s sculptor in 1915, Plane wrote him with a design suggestion. “Why not represent a small group of them in their nightly uniform approaching in the distance?” she asked.
— Southern Poverty Law Center

 

Why not represent a small group of them
in their nightly uniform
approaching in the distance?

Why not represent a small group of us
in our nightly uniform
approaching in the distance?

Why not a small group of us
in our uniform
approaching?

Why not us
approaching
wearing what we bear.

Carve us there.
Let the silence of threat
embolden our approach.

Let any who stand to fear
the white tide
of our rising—

let them hide
as we are forced to hide.
Let them scurry

under cover.
Let them cower.
Let them wait

for the end
that awaits them:
shame, bruise, blood,

snub, the whip, the rope
and tree, police, policy,
courtesy to the face—

And then, when again
it is just us alone
at the hearth of power

let us stoop, let us bend,
let us buckle in half
to tend the countless gears

of their comeuppance,
though it be generations hence.
Lest they forget, why not

represent a small group of us
in our nightly uniform
approaching in the distance?