There is no escape, & no remaining. The rhythm of the sea cutting ships west toward newer old worlds, even after weeks, can’t rock you to sleep. You know hope is a husked cicada, a child slaving for an underground factory, threads pouring through her fingers into shirt & dress, yet you hope. Exile says at least I can claim some small victory over ruin. Days multiply & your grandfather speaks in your dreams of the cane harvest & how his hands, back when they loomed so large over you, softened at your touch, then hardened again. Everyone needs a somewhere, he whispers, & since the dead have no ears, you reply by listening. & there is not much to ask of home but why anyway. Why & how & if, none of which are really questions. The sea empties what it carries out onto one or another shore. Exile says at least & at last & yes & yes! & your heart hurts. & your heart hurts. The cane sways. Though there’s no cane here, it sways.
-John Sibley Williams