Culture  Inkwell


Rinsed, simply, in water. Shining and white

As a tooth.


A farther sea. The distance from Maine to Wyoming.

When the grass hisses like rising seawater.


A caravel on the rising sea, a sleek hull

and sea-worthy spine. A Portuguese flag.


Rolled and eggy, yellow and smooth. Slipped

Into the hold.


White, island weather.

A history, Barbadoed,


Black and Irish as slaves, as tropically, brown, mixed

Children of finally painless sex


After long caravel rides. An all-white crowd,

Grilling bratwurst at Coney Island, except


Blacks cleaning brass, like rubber and gold,

The little unseen tasks of little black men.


Broken and bent, like a tailpipe in a scrap yard

In Scranton. Rusted and red.


On the thin, watery wind, the words of Gullah

Bringing news of blackened reefs of Congo and Carolina,


A history suppurating in sugar

And lost in the wash of time and in the losing sea.