“Buoyance” By: Pat Gomes


We, the people
of New Bedford, Massachusetts,
we the people:
Cape Verdean
Mayan  …
we, the people,
connected, blended, entwined
are said to have salt water coursing through our veins.
Salt water, our life blood.

Awakened by the cries of congregating gulls
and the tart aroma of the sea at dawn, we are
lulled to rest at night under the stars
by the tinkling of wind
chimes and the comforting bleat of distant fog horns.
The call of the sea will not be denied;
New Bedford is a mermaid’s promise
of treasures
for those brave enough, strong enough, adventurous enough
to mend the nets and mine the waters.

Our flower beds
are bordered with clam shells,
scallop shells; barometers hang in our kitchens.
We hold seashells to our ears
and listen for the whispers
of our ancestors hailing us
for continuing this tradition of noble work.
We pray for calm waters, but know
there will be storms, there will be loss,
yet we know that as sure as the sun rises in the east,
we, the people,
having salt water coursing through our veins,
will again rise to the surface as one:
connected, blended, and entwined.

© Patricia Gomes 2021

Read more works by Gomes written for DATMA’s previous exhibition seasons

Light: 2020

Summer Winds 2019

and a piece she wrote and read at the Light:2020 virtual launch entitled, “Black Art, Black Lives, Black Women