Phone Call from a Slave Ship
Why worry over frail Josie not knowing where I am
When I don’t even know where I am, but
Judging through steel mesh, we’re headed downtown
Me and Major, just met, cuffed-up.
“Got DAMN,” Major goes, knee-pounding the DAMN,
my left hand helping his right, having to.
Me with problems too – frail Josie not knowing
Where I am one. Last night another –
Josie breathing, “I love you.”
“Me too,” somebody mean went.
“Can’t you say it?”
“IT. How’s that. It, it, it,” me so slick.
Now in this place, pocket-emptied,
Crack-searched, plastic-glove patted, shoe-shook
Nothing mean or slick left.
In the bench soon we get our call –
Mostly whines to bosses, lawyers.
Everybody listening, nobody guilty.
Mine though finds a soft voice across town – Josie’s.
IT gets whispered, her going, “what?”
I cup the phone. The benches lean forward.
Still it’s “what?”
“I love you, Josie” comes hollered and
“Whooo – lover-boy” go the benches, thigh slapping
drowning frail Josie’s reply.
Slump-sitting I try to dissolve, to not be lover-boy
Close-eyed, I hear us in the hold,
Some moaning, some singing,
Me scurvy-heartsick already
Still smelling land.