“Slay thine enemies with their own weapons.”
The confessor, the defense attorney
(so he claims) wrote down these words from Turner’s
prison cell the night before his hanging.
No doubt the doubting Thomas may have stretched
the truth of Nat’s confession just a taste
to suit his unfulfilled aspirations,
to meet political requirements
of the moment, or to please his father.
We don’t really know. But what we do know
is that a band of slaves killed their masters
with weapons from the house – axes and knives –
men, women and children – a bloody mess.
Neither age nor sex would escape from death.