Culture | Inkwell

Caravel

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.


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