Gorèe Island Ghosts by Tichaona Chinyelu

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These poems are part of a special section of the Mid-Atlantic Review, Celebrating Black History, and selected by editors Khadijah Ali-Coleman, Carolivia Herron, and Rebecca Bishophall. To learn more about this series read a blog post on the Day Eight website here.

Gorèe Island Ghosts

by Tichaona Chinyelu

Night comes but sleep absconds.
Haunted by Gorèe Island ghosts,
the dark is a terror
dawn only partially relieves.

Imagined insurrection
leads the prima donna, paranoia,
to prowl the perimeter.

Sounds of sedition, claps of connivance;
something is afoot that affirms
these synapses snaps, these maladies
worse than plagues, poxes and pestilences.

Creeping closer to the sounds in the raven dark
the heart tells tales eyes can’t corroborate.
Retreat in silence.
Reconvene in revenge.

Dawn brings a terror only night relieves.
The paraphernalia of a pilgrim society
unleashed with all the power of its patriarchy
whips bodies and notions into frenzy.
Haunted, night comes
and the enslaved abscond.

Over hills, over dales,
through swamps, smallpox and sedition;
naked and damn near necrotic
feeding only on what could be
scrounged, stolen or salvaged
they made themselves
free.

Tichaona Chinyelu is a writer, mother and author of three books of poetry: In the Whirlwind, Still Living on my Feet and Contraband Marriage. She is currently at work on her fourth book of poetry, Gorèe Island Ghosts. Ms. Chinyelu’s writings can be found at http://stilllivingonmyfeet.com.

Featured image in this post: Île de Gorée sous le soleil vue de la chaloupe, Fawaz.tairou, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Editor
Editorhttp://www.dayeight.org
Bourgeon’s mission, through our online publication and community initiatives, is twofold: to increase participation in the arts and to improve access to the arts. Bourgeon is a project of the not-for-profit Day Eight.
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