Indentured Workers by Sigrid Kim

Cartographers inscribed “here be dragons” on the empty
spaces of maps. But when I skim my calloused finger across those
echoing sea of nothingness, I hear not the roar of the dragon, but
the rumble of the Mersey slicing through the waters on which our worlds are

What were you considering to be, if not bonded barge boats, loaded
with sugarcane seeds, anchored to the shores of capitalism? 

Tell me, what did you think of the garden? A forgotten mango, a pale musk-orange
sun, an amoeba wirthing in a pool of sweat–
Tell me, what did death sound like? The fleeting rush of a life-given river,
the cool caress of a hand from another world–
Tell me, do you think of home now? Damns splintering rivers, new borders
blooming within our map– I want to hear you.
We will never be able to make a 100% accurate
world map, says How can we say, I, if the seas are not
blue but red with the blood of our people, if every known spot is unknown,
if every compass points in the direction of the terra icognita, 
if the world is not static-map like, but shifting, breaking, and becoming–
We know nothing. 
But I know that I imagine. I imagine you as a summer mist.
Cloud vapor. Unanchored and unbonded. Rain on the map
etched onto our skins. Dew filling our wounds. 
The rivers running through our veins.


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