Frederick Douglass Aboard a Sonnet of the Atlantic
I don’t know at which port he stood, what oar,
heard, inhaling mist—& this saline film
a, splicing to a Point of No Return
for clarity, a shuffling about decks.
What’s stolen for Van Diemen’s Land, Charleston?
What of asylum granted, hope harbored
with abandonment? The same pastel gale
& silent boats, still frames in / Cobh / Cape Coast
& familial fetters boring tide, bloat,
lighting channels, every port rang, calling
steadfast incitement—Boston, Liverpool (!)
once faith & Mersey met the Irish Sea
what wonder could be felt in these new sails
raised of foresight, heeding every crew’s caws.
Directed by Matthew Thompson.
First published in Southword Journal. Reproduced with permission of the poet.