Frederick Douglass Aboard a Sonnet of the Atlantic

By Kimberly Reyes

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.