Seedling Till

In honor of Emmett Till’s 80th birthday on July 25th, we have invited our Emmett Till Archives interns to contribute to the blog this week. Read on for an original poem by Linney Osias.

Photograph of Emmett and Mamie Till, Davis Houck Papers.
Seedling Till

Since a seed in the womb
My mother dreamed for me to be free in this world of doom
She provided me with the love to germinate and sprout
So that when I became a seedling, my roots were able to spread without a doubt
As my leaves grew her love for me did too
And when my stalk couldn’t support them, she became the nitrogen I needed to bloom
Having a mother like her was like having all in one
She was my best friend and confidant
She made our relationship stronger than that of mother and son
And when I became a budding boy, she changed my soil and provided me with a larger pot
She allowed me to explore in a world where some would accept me while many would not
She taught me to follow the wind when my leaves get stuck
Yet when she hugged me goodbye she didn’t know that would be the last that our vines would tuck
I visited a new garden, excited to spread my leaves
But not all the other plants accepted the chlorophyll of my dark green
So, they infiltrated my garden and plucked me clean
Removed my ability to flower and made me strange fruit for others to see
What they didn’t know is that my mother was waiting for me
She had it in her mind that I was still her seed
She took my body and planted it in the world, refusing for my existence to be buried
Exposing the world to how the carnivorous plants carry
I was a seedling Till
My mother took what was left of me and devoted her life to the propagation of my legacy

Published by Rory Grennan

Rory Grennan is Director of Manuscripts Collections at Florida State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives.

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