Avoiding the Spirits

Berniece: I don’t play that piano cause I don’t want to wake them spirits.
They never be walking around in this house.
          —The Piano Lesson, August Wilson

When at sunset the congregation gathers
in the low light of St. Helena’s old gray
Baptist chapel; they guard their hearts
from the whisper of the low-bellied trees;
calling on the blood as they brush off
the dew on their coats by the burial ground.

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