Kathleen Brewin Lewis, "Sapelo"



          —In the 1850s, 385 slaves lived & toiled
          on this Georgia barrier island.

This sultry place, built
on the bare backs of slaves:
malarial rice fields, shell-studded
tabby structures, cane & cotton
plantations, solitary lighthouse. All

ruins now, but for the lighthouse—
rebuilt, relit, in a better century.
A ninth generation ferries the sound
to weekday work on the mainland,
digs Saturday clams and oysters
from deep mud at low tide. Still

the island mourns.
Its twisted oaks wear
shrouds of Spanish moss,
bear boughs heavy
with resurrection fern. Thick

rattlesnakes drape & sun
on the planter’s headstone.


Kathleen Brewin Lewis has had prose and poetry appear in Yemassee, Southern Humanities Review, STILL: The Journal, James Dickey Review, Foundling Review, Town Creek Poetry, and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. V: Georgia.