Stone Telling

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by JT Stewart

fresh off the
they break you
in barbados

they split for you
you tongue
they slice for you
you ear

they dig for you
a hole of dirt
for you big child

they whip you
make you belly
lie down

they put on you
you neck
the ring of

they say no
to no eat the
sugar cane

they put on you
you mouth
the mask of

they tie you
man to
four green tree

they make you
man fly to
all four wind

they say you
you sing

sing calypso sky
sing soka wind
they ship you
to they home

all ways
they break you
in barbados

all ways

our bones be
ocean floors

our bones be
masts of ships

our bones be
coral reefs

our bones sing
of salt

JT Stewart (poet / writer / playwright / editor / teacher) co-founded the Clarion West Writers Workshop, now in its 30th consecutive year. Currently, she teaches poetry at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle and will be a panelist in 'found poetry' at the 2014 AWP Convention. A featured poet in Stone Telling 9, she also appears in The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry. Most recently, she has one of two poems in the Aqueduct Press anthology Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African-American Voices and Octavia E. Butler. JT's poetry broadsides have appeared in the Seattle Art Museum, the Allen Library (University of Washington), and the Washington State Convention Center galleries.

The audio for this poem was recorded at Jack Straw Productions.

Photography: slavery, by Bruno Casonato.