Palm by Christian Campbell

Your voice returned, a palm

frond startling the wind, then carried

off to sea a night the trees went

walking, adrift with memory

and sargassum, enduring grace

of the palm, despite estates and inns,

fictions of voyagers, the palm weep

for you, lost plumes of their dreaming,

offspring of the cleaving wind.

Gone frond, you stray, a weeping

guitar on the entangled Atlantic,

until the winged fish find you,

swarming into script, thousands

flitting, foil-flash, sea to sky to sea,

switching time, to spawn in your fan

of feathers, rouse the altering smoke 

of life force, insistent as the hum

of cicada and the earth. The fish

purl you gravid with gold,

a manger, abyssal city, Dwaraka,

something scribbled on each leaf

in Sanskrit, here in the sewn and sewing 

sea, which deifies change, defies it,

my creed. Fugitive palm, to the common

tern the surface boils, busy with living,

a tree again, gold to silver, we await

the season sea-beneath, winter blooms.

Christian Campbell is a Trinidadian Bahamian poet, essayist and scholar. He is the author of the widely acclaimed poetry collection Running the Dusk (2010), which won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was a finalist for the Forward Prize for the Best First Collection and the Cave Canem Prize among other awards. Running the Dusk was translated into Spanish by Aida Bahr and published in Cuba as Correr el Crepúsculo (2015).