My father and I run into each other at the edge of Lower Manhattan,
World Trade Center, where there’s a movie house.
We tiptoe down the slope, making our way to our seats.
We don’t exchange pleasantries. Cinque is stolen from his native land.
A body of water separates Cinque from his home.
We have front row seats inside the belly of the ship,
History so close it hums.
the rush of water now spilling in my lap.
I close my eyes, blink—
water breaking through the screen, water rising from the floor,
how the past revolts against the present.
I lift both feet. We’re in this together,
our own Amistad headed somewhere,
a meeting place captive.
Added: Thursday, October 30, 2014 / Used with permission.
Abdul Ali is the author of the forthcoming collection, Trouble Sleeping that won the 2014 New Issues Poetry Prize. He’s an alumnus from the graduate creative writing program at American University. His poetry has appeared in Gargoyle, A Gathering of Tribes, New Contrasts (South Africa), and the anthology Full Moon on K Street. Ali has received fellowships from The American University where he was editor of the literary journal, FOLIO, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Ali teaches in the English Department at Towson University. He recently moved to Maryland from Washington after eight years.
Ali was one the organizers for the second Split This Rock festival.