Natasha Trethewey

1. Dr. Samuel Adolphus Cartwright
On Dissecting the White Negro

To strip from the flesh
        the specious skin; to weigh
                in the brainpan
        seeds of white
pepper; to find in the body
        its own diminishment —
        and definite; to measure the heft
of lack; to make of the work of faith
        the work of science, evidence
                the word of God: Canaan
be the servant of servants; thus
        to know the truth
                of this: (this derelict
corpus, a dark compendium, this
        atavistic assemblage—flatter
feet, bowed legs, a shorter neck) so
        deep the tincture
                —see it!—
we still know white from not.