Jen Edwards

Slave Trade

Knee-deep I wade, wait for you to surface,
verdigris face gleaming in oily bog.

There was an ocean between us once.
I thought of Morocco, the salt crust

thick on your lip corners, rusty taste
of nails. The silt hardpan broke away.

He sold you off, that prince of winds
for a dozen eucalyptus trees.

With a razor strop he belted you west,
honeyfied sister. You wrote of rain

shadows: the moisture mirage
that never came. Leeward, they crept along

cliff-face, dwarfed clouds. I hear the beat
of insect hearts. The cortege waits for no one.

I wish I’d taught you how to button yourself,
to hide from exposure. Cranes bugle, scythe the grey sky.

Author Portrait

Jen Edwards’s poetry has previously appeared in The Laurel Review, The Journal, Confrontation, and is forthcoming in The Normal School. She is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Oklahoma State University where she studies with Lisa Lewis. Currently, she is the Associate Editor of the Cimarron Review.