Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts
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Beausoleil Leaves Saint-Domingue

by Darrell Bourque


There was nothing he saw here that he did not love, the way the sea was always near,
how in the higher elevations the air thinned and clarified itself, how blooms
and fruits of blooms grew everywhere and touched everything, how the ear
was filled with a hundred tongues he understood, how he had met in room on room


with men the great leader would know, how drinks they shared had set them all straight
about what they had to do from here. In those rooms and with those men he saw anew
the mechanics and the heart of rebellion, a thing not his nor theirs. It was clear their fates


would set them on different paths in different lands. The tall grasses these people grew
would hide them, keep them strong and ready. What they were native to was their gate
to freedom and he was looking for another way. What had once been many now were few


and it was his job to find a place that would finally take them in. When he left, his fear
was that the island may have been his best hope and he had sailed from it. What loomed
over him was the thought that he had come all this way to let go of everything, no clear
reading of loss or gain, his ship adrift again, and every face he loved etched with doom.