Fall 1992 • Vol. XIV No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1992 |

Slaves

These are the years of the empty hands. And what were those just past, swift with the flash of alloyed hulls but carrying no cargo? Outside our lives, my mythical America, dingy rollers fringed with soot deposit cracked syringes and used condoms on beaches tinted gray by previous waves, but I have learned that when a random hour waits just for a moment, hurrying on blistered feet, to catch up to it, everything begins again. All of it is yours, the longed-for mundane: men falling from a cloud-filled sky like flakes of snow onto the ocean, your mother immersed in ordinary misery and burning breakfast, still alive in the small tenement kitchen. You understand I use the second person only as a marker: beyond these sheltered bays are monsters, and tarnished treasures of lost galleons it's death to bring to light. The ships put out and they sink; before the final mast descends, the shadow of a single sailor is burned across the sun, then wrapped in strands of cirrus, his European skin a g

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