I am still southern up-north

that night my best friend’s car stop along US 27,

a patch of highway between West Palm Beach

and Miami; we had to walk back to the Glades;

had to sing among the gigantic mosquitoes that

fought us like three boys in a middle school locker

room; no wonder this image comes up because

the dirty canal water is the actual place of my birth;

my grandma lived near one; so the children of

my neighborhood ignored it like it did not exist;

this image comes up, the children that jumped

into the dirty canal water are lost in this memory;

it was a run-off; of the irrigation of the sugarcane,

therefore I am run-off; I am a run-on sentence;

the dirty canal transforms into a stream of con-

sciousness; it is a death of the paradigm; there is

no rhyme here; no white people lived on our end

of the street; it reeks of migration; the smell of

bean fields and celery; tell me this image comes back

from the track Zora Neale Hurston; it is a burst of

one- thousand sunshines; we are blind from the rain

during the season; the patou of the Jamaican

being shipped to the sugar shack; being tricked

like the Middle Passage; their arms are razor wires,

dangling particles, machetes chopping the purple stalks

before six am; would watch them from the road

the dirty canal water separates us; but it was a crest

for us; we knew all of this, because the soot

would leave traces on my grandma’s clothesline.

© Robert Gibbons


sampayan clotherline robert gibbons



  1. Leeraa Patnaik · · Reply

    Touched to the core of my heart….! Its cornucopia of unfolded emotions which is unpretentious…….! Good Work ! Mr. Robert Gibbons

    1. Robert thanks you!!

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