XXXV. Untitled (first published 2-14-13; originally misnumbered)

Octogenarian in a wheelchair being pushed past BAM; black woman, arresting stare; a person who matters.

I notice, first of all, the stare, which hooks me, and then the pin, a large, oblong, golden-colored pin with shells dangling from it. But the meaning passes my notice as I pass.

But then, in a flash, I know it. A horizontal cross section of the Amistad, with the bodies of slaves laying prone on its deck. The cowry shells dangling from it in honor of those lost to the sea and still being lost to the sea that ate them.

I couldn’t respond with verse, only prose, because the poem is hers.


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