for Frederick Douglass


far from Cedar Hill where I know you,

but across the perilous deep, across a black

atlantic, an arm’s length away from the shore

& blue sky of bondage.


on a road whose name sounds like calamity

or song, gravity’s fall. Here – we both marvel at


our body’s work,

our skin without

our country’s marks,


brown bodies moving, through the Emerald

Isle’s soft, grey fog, unquestioned,

unboxed by America’s Black. I return to DC,


our city feeling unmasked, standing

in front of a mirror wondering

what else I have not seen.


*italics are from a Frederick Douglass speech detailing his visit to Ireland