On May, 14, 1868, the ship Golconda set sail from Savannah, Georgia to Liberia, and from the ship’s log, the journey started for 7 generations of the Fort family, starboard.


The worthy and wealthy men of color
stood on Golconda, gangplank, Savannah,
the blind Pharoah, thrown overboard, sorrow.

One saw angels in their brown sunken eyes,
starboard, husk of a rainbow at their feet.
The worthy and wealthy looked for the land

and carried one, 1868, seated silver dollar,
pewter canteen, filled with blue sea water,
sorrow on the map of the underworld.

The worthy lifted their heads in the pew,
starboard, unclean water in their cupped hands;
what was blue coral, turned green, turned to tar,

saw god in the eyes of a stow-a-way,
thrown down and half-drowned in a net of fire,
Cleopatra rolled inside a carpet.

The wealthy, struck by lightning, burned alive.
W. Fort took his turn at the captain’s wheel.
He was unmoved, hands steady, and starboard,
for the child pharaoh, half-buried, sorrow.


Charles Fort

CHARLES FORT is the author of six books of poetry including, We Did Not Fear the Father (Red Hen Press) and Mrs. Belladonna’s Supper Club Waltz (Backwaters Press).Fort has poems in The Best American Poetry, 2000, 2003, and 2017. He is Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Founder of the Wendy Fort Foundation and Theater of Fine Arts. In 2017, Fort completed, Sorrow Road, 200 Villanelles and his first novel, The Last Black Hippie in Connecticut.

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