HomeSouthern VoiceDeath At Ocracoke Inlet

Death At Ocracoke Inlet

by Danielle Sellers

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Joseph Brooks (-1718)

He did Blackbeard’s bidding,
knew the ocean, and land
that rose from it like a seasoned crop,
there, and not there with the tide.

It was common practice to catch a wild pony,
slash its hock with a sword,
hang a lantern around its neck
and force it to walk the shore,

back and forth. Stumbling,
the lantern mimicked a light
bobbing in the fathoms. Lost ships
would sail towards it, run aground.

Then The Bankers plundered their stores:
bales of cotton, hogsheads of sugar,
cider and salt. Chests full of shields,
black dogs, waves and pillars.

He spoke a ship’s language,
prized the blurred line between salt
and freshwater. The moment
his body was committed to sea,

somewhere his good son paused
to feel a breeze move through
the sandy garden. Somewhere
his wife hung white linen on a line,
wistful for indigo.

Danielle Sellers is from Key West, Florida. She has an MA from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of Mississippi, where she held the John Grisham Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in River Styx, Subtropics, Smartish Pace, The Cimarron Review, Poet Lore and elsewhere. Her first book, Bone Key Elegies, was published by Main Street Rag. She teaches iterature and creative writing at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas. Read her previously published poem in Deep South here

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