Review: Short breve with an extra shot

Just the right amount of insouciance
With earthy overtones, and ripe plump honey
Cocoa orchid cloves, with a clean finish.

Earthy overtones, echoes of Bedouin twig fires
A trace of Sheba at the margins
And – I’m quite certain – a hint
Of wild goat on the Ethiopian highlands,
Of pomegranates shared willfully
In the caressing, endless night

Of tribal justice,
Of Bantu, Arab, and Chinese
Exchanging wisdom and profit,
Prophets, peace be upon them,
Be damned, at the trading table,
Of long years of captivity and release,

And captivity again, burning like hunger,
Shining like anger.
Of God and injustice, all blind
To the anguish of the children
He claimed as his own.

Perfect tender bitterness
Exchanged for the bitterness
of slaves on the sugar plantation,
Of generations’ riven ancestry
Evolved into the pathos of poverty.

Then, floating like some cup-bound cloud
Above the serene acidity,
Rich, billows of silky cream,
With traces of Swiss mountainside,

Or the Dells of Wisconsin,
Ancestral hunting grounds
Usurped for pasture,
Where the descendants of wild oxen
Empty their swollen udders,
Raw as a farmer’s neck in autumn.

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