By Camille Rankine
Our stone wall was built by slaves and my bones, my bones
are paid for. We have two
of everything, twice heavy
in our pockets, warming
our two big hands.
This is the story, as I know it. One morning:
the ships came, as foretold, and death
How cheap a date I turned out to be.
Each finger weak with the memory:
lost teeth, regret. Our ghosts
walk the shoulders of the road at night.
I get the feeling you’ve been lying to me.
Camille Rankine, "History" from Incorrect Merciful Impulses. Copyright © 2016 by Camille Rankine. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Source: Incorrect Merciful Impulses (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)
More By This Poet
Symptoms of Prophecy
In the new century,
we lose the art of many things.
For example, at the beep, I communicate
using the wrong machine.
I called to say we have two lives
and only one of them is real.
When the phone rings: you could be anybody.
The Current Isolationism
In the half-light, I am most
at home, my shadow
When I feel hot, I push a button
to make it stop. I mean this stain on my mind
I can’t get out. How human
I seem. Like modern man,
I traffic in extinction. I...
More Poems about Social Commentaries
A wishbone branch falls
from my Grandma Thelma’s oak
What do you know about magic? e1 asks.
E bends e old body down, turns
the wishbone branch into
a cross, places it around my neck.
I am strapped at the Black River’s right shoulder,
I want to put down what the mountain has awakened.
My mouthful of grass.
My curious tale. I want to stand still but find myself moved patch by patch.
There's a bleat in my throat. Words fail me here. Can you understand? I...