My porcelain skin binds me to the slave owner’s
whip, extended, ready to flay black
spines open like gaping snapper.
My porcelain skin keeps me complicit;
I cringe, face the wreckage
local history tiptoes around.
My heart thrums inside Hatty’s (no surname)
breast as she arrays her coffee-skinned children
like chickens before the auction block.
She dares not hold them, allow her fingers
to stray across their cheeks, hair,
straighten their backs.
•••Wendy Fulton Steginsky is a Bermudian poet whose work has been published in two Bermuda Anthologies, And The Questions Are Enough, online, including The Wild River Review and Making Magic: Beauty in Word and Image, an exhibition and book celebrating photography and poetry at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.