Seeking History on Clopper Lake

On the boat tour
our guide mentions the name
and then the full name
of the plantation owner
who built the lake we are riding over.
He says it is important to mention
that it was a working plantation
and that there were slaves there
and they were the ones who did the work.
He does not know their names-
none of us do.

He moves on to tell us about the life we see
as we coast along-
the beaver den, the water birds, the turtles.
My daughter is hungry
and she whines for something.
As she’s taking a bite of her granola
I take a picture of the light
reflecting off of the water.

While she falls asleep tonight-
I will wonder about how many bones we glided over?
How many stories of the nameless
were silenced by Francis Cassatt Clopper?
How do I teach my daughter to seek
those names and tell their stories-
even if it means submerging herself in this lake;
submerging herself in our brutal and unforgivable history?

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