Winter 1992 • Vol. XIV No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1992 |

Mary Prince Bermuda. Turks Island. Antigua. 1787

i was born the cock crow the sun went up or down and spread the legs of a woman who's since lost her mind a woman who named me "mary." "oh mary don't you weep don't you moan oh mary don't you weep don't you moan . . ." i was born given into slavery as a child given as a pet as a girl put to nurse little mother little mammy little auntie mary hired out as a young woman and then sold "oh mary don't you weep don't you moan . . . " from haiti we heard past the mask of silence in haiti they built black armies burned the slave fields killed the masters black revolt "oh mary don't you weep don't you moan oh mary . . . " the last time i saw my mama sane maybe she wasn't lining us up against hamble market wall big to small crying "these my baby's shrouds" holding bits of cloth in her teeth swallowing pain as the high bidders took us one by one from her and anything that has ever made sense "oh mary don't you weep don't you moan . . . " beat you for crying figure

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