Fred D’Aguiar

News from Nowhere
November 13, 2011 DAguiar Fred

News from Nowhere


The sea handles laundry

with the ambition of an illegal

washed to the wrong promontory,

one where the masters fly

outdated flags, drink too early,

and brag about the old gal,

then fancy the maid, call her

Mary, who tries hard not to draw

attention to her nimble footprint,

who wants nothing more

than to wrap the last wave,

reduce those flaps and ease the rent

on her aching bones. The sea stabs

her, scores lines on her skin.

Mary’s hospital corners prove

unruly as shorelines and unfold.

Sshh the boss urges. He grabs

Mary, rolls her onto her back,

and she loses herself in waves

that scrub until they erase stacks

of reasons to leave, and excuses

why she cannot listen to news

about a three-card trick of a hand

dealt to her by the sea, knowing what

she ran from held more than

this promise of trouble with laundry,

this sea’s rank spray, and fury.

Fred D’Aguiar, novelist, poet, essayist and playwright, grew up in Guyana and England. His most recent book, Continental Shelf is a collection of poems. His novel The Longest Memory won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel, and his collection of poems, Bill of Rights, was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Other collections, Mama Dot and Airy Hall, won the Malcolm X Poetry Prize and the Guyana Prize for Poetry, respectively. He has held the Judith E. Wilson Fellowship at Cambridge University and currently teaches at Virginia Tech.