Sunday, 14 August 2011

Plantation


[originally published in Ex Plus Ultra]

I planted the corpse
in Massa's garden,
to see if a slave
could bear fruit.

I watered, fertilised,
and hoed the land that hated
him, while waiting
patiently for blossoms.

He spreads roots, in need
of some, crossing
map lines; reaching,
I guess, back home.

And when the roots burst
through soil, I could see
they were iron
chains, growing from his feet

In spring his head was a cloud
of cotton, and slowly, through
to summer, his bones, grown massive,
yawned into a branching corona.

Birds nested in his arms,
children sat on his shoulders,
and ghosts clung to
the rungs of his frame.

He never bore leaves,
instead telling a story
through silence: witness
of a history best forgotten.

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