The Repining Tree


Trees, the oldest among us. One wonders if they mourn the many lynchings that have taken place on their limbs. More reflections on diversity.




During my wellness walks, I often listen to books on tape. I was inspired to write this piece as I listened to Isabel Wilkerson’s book, Caste. There is a section that talks about lynching. While walking, I began to think about the trees and how they must have mourned the many lynchings that took place. In and out, trees breathe history held in its rings of memory.

Abba, Abba, Abba—I pray with reverberating breath on how my once opportunistic roots could provide sustenance to resurrect the Black slain of the antebellum South.

The Apparition of Meadows pursues my submissive conscience and spews forgiveness from his mouth.

He was suspended from a rope tainted with ubiquitous casteism that protest with gangrenous vigor.

I remember weeping at his premature departure and visualizing congregants singing spirituals in the cherubic river.

Abba, Abba, Abba—I contemplate with renewed neurons how my once perdurable bark could no longer be a fortress against voracious mobs seeking to punish their subordinate prey.

The Apparition of Crawford visits me during the 4 seasons, are filled with flashbacks from that dreadful day.

His Black carcass dehumanized by a dominant rope whose DNA had been mutated with red vile.

I remember the wailing voices of his bloodline scurrying out of town feeling ostracized like the Gentiles.

Abba, Abba, Abba—I meditate day and night with a humble heart on how my once decorated crown could transmit molecules of oxygen that would open the airways of your Black sons and daughters chanting, “I can breathe.”

The Apparition of McIntosh travels with me along the streets of “The Lou” filled with desensitized souls that forever seethe.

His gut wept with a fear that failed to digest the rope of enduring hubris.

I remember your doctrine stating that without love for the Father of all creation, America’s faith is fruitless.

Dr Clark is clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville and medical director & division chief for Adult Inpatient and Consult-Liaison Services for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Prisma Health-Upstate. He currently serves on the APA Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry as well as the Diversity & Inclusion Section Editor and Advisory Board member for Psychiatric TimesTM.

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