The youth stares at his imprisoned canoe
a bleached skeleton in the cracked earth.
Intuitively, he plants his feet on the arrowhead of earth
where the Rivers Tocantins and Itacaiúnas meet
and slowly, with shame, presses ‘record’.
I’m Nego, son of a fisherman and washerwoman.
I was born here, Cabelo Seco, where it all began…
The cliche echoes in centuries of protective silence
that hides him from his own afro-roots.
I’ve never seen this…, no-one can remember…
Dry tears fill the cellars of his voice.
His finger points to the horizon in flames.
How will I explain to my grandkids, they died
from such greed and complicity, before birth?