Goodman’s Bay

By Christian Campbell

Not even a chewed bone,
a used rubber in the seaweed, cut glass
smiling beneath the sand.
We don’t see them.

He is my brother.
Our hearts beat the same.
I have bad shoulders,
he has bad knees. We have
given our bodies an atlas.

He breathes softly,
on time, and we talk
very little, the good things, gasping.
I have long legs, one stride
to every two from him.

We run the dusk
at dusk. Everything
is open and live
with silence. All viscera.
God, there is too much
red in the sky.

Making braille in the sand
like this, we feel it in the lower back.
The sinking, the slipping,
all the little slopes and mounds.
We are listening to the body.

Whoever needs to howl
should howl. The warm breath
coming from the sea. The full moon
pulls the tide like a stubborn skirt.

Everything will last.

Children squawk on a swing, flying.
Bahamian children in the night.
The hotels are a glance away.

You feel it when you run
the sand. All of it,
the whole of your body
in the world. The swing
creaks slow, like love
in the morning. God,
the night is so blue.

Man and woman in the dark
water. Ghost and ghost on the seawall.
Someone sews false hair
into a slim girl’s dreams.
She does this at night for no good reason.
All this beauty for nothing.

Walking back with our chests
blooming, I taste my own sweat.
There are people dusting off
their feet as if dancing.
We pass a woman in a large,
damp t-shirt, nothing but salt.
We can’t see her face,
the smile or the frown, the hard
look of judgment. But the moon
is bareback and blind and the ground
is an altar of piss and rum and we know
that somewhere on this split tongue
of stone, someone just died, just finished
making love.


The Caribbean Review of Books, February 2005

Christian Campbell is a Bahamian-Trinidadian poet, cultural critic, and part-time lecturer in creative writing at the College of the Bahamas. He is editor of The Weekender and is currently working on a collection of poetry, To Hold a Meditation.