Laura M Kaminski
I grew up in northern Nigeria, went to school in New Orleans, and currently live on Carver Creek in (very) rural Missouri. I'm blind in one eye, wear a dark lens on that side of my glasses, and cannot resist engaging with children who point at me and yell PIRATE! I'm an Associate Editor at Right Hand Pointing, and have recently been working on a collection of poetry related to growing up in Nigeria and the transition to the United States. You can contact me and find links to my poetry and books at arkofidentity.wordpress.com -- you can even find links to four mini-films that video artists have made based on some of my poems.
It’s a PIRATE!
A voice/ speaking in all languages announced that/ the End of Days was upon us, divine wisdom/ would be granted to all
mankind, and the secret/ of eternal peace would be revealed./ It involves ice cream. -- from William Bernhardt’s poem “What
Happened While I Was Away?” in The White Bird, Balkan Press, 2013
The boy behind me at the grocery—all of five,
perhaps just a tall three—is standing by their basket
tightly clutching a huge yellow box of Cheerios.
He points at me, my face, the black glass lens
that covers my left eye. Despite his mother’s
desperate shushing, he’s audible four aisles over:
“It’s a PIRATE!”
Other shoppers stop to peer around the corner—
at him, at me, his blushing mother—as if finally
they’ll get to see the emperor without his clothes.
I excuse myself to the cashier waiting ready
for my money, hit the linoleum with my knees,
get right up in the young man’s face and answer:
When my ship calls it a day and heads into
the harbor, when sails are furled and barnacles
scraped, when useful life is over, when I’ve
grown obsolete and friends gather to remember,
share stories, decommission me with honors,
I hope someone laughs and thinks to tell
how once I flew
the Jolly Roger.
It's a PIRATE first appeared on the Tupelo Press 30/30 blog January 2014, and subsequently in last penny the sun, Balkan Press, 2014
©2014 Laura M Kaminski