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Oleann, Preston Jackson


20"w x 3'l x 18'h, cast bronze

Oleann sits quietly in a flower patch between the big house and the slave quarters. The pile of red clay is an unkempt garden that was once tended by her mother. It is no longer in use because of some superstition that surrounds it. There she sits, scantily clothed, with many voices in her head, speaking all at once in a variety of tongues about things both real and imagined.

It happened like this. Oleann was quite young when the master turned to her for his pleasures in African flesh. He promised her many things. One of them was marriage, and another was freedom. Most saw this as folly, and a gross impossibility. Being a slave in her position, in the back of her mind she knew what he had told her was untrue, but she was highly attracted to the sound of the words. She literally surrendered her entire being to this man, totally disregarding advice from older and wiser people. He soon grew tired of her and moved on to his next victim.

This was quite a shock to Oleann. When the master stopped his nocturnal visits to her cabin, she tried everything to regain the attention of the one in whom she had placed so much trust. His rejection of her was total. He had shoved her away from him, and made physical threats that began to play out.

One important thing that Oleann's mother left her before she died was the knowledge of the use of plants and herbs. She had learned to combine the ancient arts from Africa with modern horticulture. Special concoctions used for medicinal purposes and the black arts were simply at her command.

She decided to prepare a special tea for her by-gone lover in hopes of making him ill, so that he would call upon her to nurse him back to health, thus rekindling the fires of love. However, Oleann was not aware of the extreme power of the oleander bush, and caused the death of her lover-master. Miraculously, no one suspected that she was the cause of his death.

Oleann, Preston JacksonAs time passed, she grew more and more depressed. Her behavior became unpredictable. She took on a very melancholy demeanor, often sitting for hours, wearing little clothing, as she fondled the deadly oleander before her.

Every once in a while she would gaze upward into the eyes of passersby, or maybe an imaginary one, as if to ask the question, "Has my lover returned? And is he well?"

©2006 Preston Jackson