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XLIX

ELEGY

for Aimé Cesaire

I sent you, in Martinique, maître,
the unfolding letter of a sail, a letter
beyond the lines of blindingly white breakers,
of lace-laden surplices and congregational shale.
I did not send any letter, though it flailed on the wind,
your island is always in the haze of my mind
with the blown-about sea-birds
in their creole clatter of vowels, maître among makers,
whom the reef recites when the copper sea-almonds blaze,

beacons to distant Dakar, and the dolphin’s acres.

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