…..“oh friendly light
…..oh fresh source of light”
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.
“Goodman’s Bay II” was first published in Callaloo 31.2 (2008), and will be included in Campbell’s forthcoming collection Running the Dusk (Peepal Tree Press, 2010).
A. Philip Armbrister
Congratulations Christian on the publication of your new collection, a monumental achievement. I found this poem to be informative, surprising and also moving. Additionally, I was able to enjoy it in the anthology of a ‘Sudden and Violent Change’.
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