We have come to the Whitney
our pasts inside us silent
like the dogwood flower

A tableau of sculptures
march the veranda,
some small and assertive,
some large and lethargic
all migrants, ex-captives

the clank of their chains
still shuffles the High Line
one foot fear, one foot courage
one step fear, one step courage

they join in assembly
they tell of their bondage

One figure, an ape of a figure
big African lips,
on his shoulder a bindle
not of clothes or belongings
but of empty food cans

I remember when father
lived in our car
lived out of cans
he too, emancipated

the Chrysler Lebaron
we prayed would redeem us
wood panels, chrome hubcaps,
digital clock, smooth leather seats