BY HONORÉE FANONNE JEFFERS
In the early contact period, New England Indian wampum consisted of small tubular-shaped shells drilled and strung as beads.— Alfred A. Cave
The breaking of clouds begins with seizure.
A man grabs another, reasons ransom.
A murder averted in the thing’s scheme.
A cape’s shell transformed, more than one supposed.
What stands behind this? Enemy or friend?
(Yes, they can be both. Don’t you think I know?)
List: Dutch. Indian. Pequot. Puritan.
List: Then. War. Event. Now. History. List.
The shell buys glories of iron and pelt.
Wampum is dismissed. Joke. Sneer. Currency
of the disappeared whose children live still.
List: Blessing. Curse. Wife. Slave. Savior. Savage.
The shells make their noise. The robbed graves cradle.
He who brings food to the starving gets cooked.
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