Fall/Winter 2014

Tom Stock


‘we cry for Selby. She try escape. Master wiped her bad. I kant watch
She sream. Plese god. Sav us all.”  

In the Savannah Historical Society
On a long, polished table
Wearing thin, white gloves, I await
A rare slave’s journal 175 years old  

The librarian opens
The worn, brown book
Her white gloves gently
Turning pages.
“Turn the pages slowly.
They are brittle.”  

On coarse paper and in pencil
Misspelled words:  

“he order me clen horse stals. Hot. Itch. Swet. sor back. no rest Col water feel good. Sleep come fast.”  

My mother scolded spelling in letters I sent
She returned them with corrections
“I paid for your college.
Your spelling is poor.”
With C grades for English courses
I’ve dishonored my mother
A reporter for the Buffalo Evening News  

A half century later,
I still misspell
No white gloves for my journals                 

Tom Stock is known for his Pine Barrens poems as the result of a decade living in the 55 thousand acre core of the Long Island Pine Barrens Preserve. He likes to turn natural history observations into poems.



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