Hog Killin Time

Cast Bronze, 2005
24" x 16" x 36"

Word was, that we was all to be sold down de river, and dis was comin' sooner than I 'spec. We thought we lived a purty easy life hyar in Carolina. The vittles were good, we got to keep half what we growed, none of us starved to death, and furthermo', some of us was right fat and sassy. Ole marse always gave me special treatment, cause I cooked his food. I always was good at spicin' the vittles and that made him happy. I was one of those African peoples, and where we came from we knew all there was about plants for food and medicine.

Dis here talk about us'n bein' sold begin to worry me more and more. I passes it off as jus' slave quarter talk. But do you know, then I seed him fatten up the horses and givin' the walkin' animals extra feed. And in the blacksmith shop, the wheelwrights were makin' new wagon wheels. Lawd, I 'spec something's up.

Den ole marse comes up to me with a funny 'spression on his face, his head slightly tilted downward and not looking right at me like he uster do. Yeah,
honey, somethin's up. Den he tells me, " Clara, I wants you to kill a hog, make us some salt meat, and get us'ns ready for a long trip we's about to take." And chile, don'cha know that's when my heart jus' sink to my stomach. I knew rat then that my family gonna be split up. I thought we'd all jus' grow old and die together on this plantation, full bellies and all.

Honey chile, I couldn't sleep a wink dat night. I walked the floors and wet my sleepin' gown from cryin' so. The next day I gather my self-respec' and walks back to de kitchen. That's when ole marse break de news to me. He say, " Clara, ahmo have to sell your two boys to some people I know in Mississippi, an' I'm sho' dey'll be happy dar and grow up to be fine young men. Dere owner be very good to dem."

And den he turns and starts to walk away. Well, my hands wuz already tremblin' and when I lifts the hog-choppin' ax way up over my head, my intention was to finish choppin' up this ole hog. But somethin', the devil, I 'spec, turned my mine toward ole marse as he showed me his back, you see. I had a twin sister somewhere, and lawd, it jus' broke my heart when he split us up. Seems like splittin' things was all I knowed. Then I decided to do my last splittin' job. Ooo, girl, I took that sharp, heavy ax and brought it down right on top of ole marse's head, and clean through his body. Honey chile, I cut that man in two pieces. And now he be two twins separated. I jus' set there waitin' for 'em to come get me. No, I don't feel no 'morse. I jus' couldn't take no more separation.