Gorée Island

When There Was Hope

By: - Jan 02, 2017

Gorée Island

That day on the ferry
Eight years ago
In Senegal
Newly elected
President Obama
A time of Hope
Setting off from Dakar
Soft breeze
Bound for
Gorée Island
Ever closer
Looming fortress
Solemn walk
Via Dolorosa
Stations to cross
Trail of tears
Endless processions
Sting of the lash
Streets now lined
With merchants
Tourist trinkets
With measured steps
Maison des Esclaves
Colonial mansion
Master’s quarters
A rustic museum
Memorabilia evoking
Hell of its
Grim rooms below
Holding cells
Either side of
Narrow corridor
At its end
Radiant with light
Door of no return
Stepping up
Looking out
Rocky shore
Ocean beyond
First steps
Down a ramp
Boarding ships
Middle passage
From which none
Barack and Michelle
Stood in that door
A black woman
In our group
Wept for days
Another at the beach
Plunged into the waves
Holding a photo
Of her grandmother
I have returned for her
She shared with me
In my own way
Never again the same
Feeling the depth
America’s shame
Retreating back to
What it was
Before a black president
Gave us Hope