Goodman's Bay II

“oh friendly light
oh fresh source of light”
Césaire

Straight to the bush to gather cracked
bottles of beer and rum, shards of seaglass
smoothed by wind and sand. We Haitian

Bahamian descendants, Burial Society
flock, crawl through the night. Since the light
at dusk is like muslin, we lay the cold

body of this man, then, on the shore
of Goodman’s Bay. How he wash here
we don’t know, but the workers clearing

the beach say, This him. John Goodman
he name, originally Jean-Paul Delattre,
brother of Stephen Dillet, first coloured man

in Parliament. Come here on a boat
from Haiti back then, back again,
so we jewel the edges of his body

with shattered bottles, then bear him
to the foot of casuarinas in order that his born
silhouette self may freely flash and prance –

luminous shadow lifting from the sand
of this beach name after a black man.


from Running the Dusk (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), © Christian Campbell 2010, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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