The Mulatta Unmasks Herself to Her Husband

The Mulatta Unmasks Herself to Her Husband

Edinburgh, 1826


  


For all the faith in argument in principle in reason


for all the books you hand me bid me read


for all in the dark I pretend


for all the pursuit of equality of righteousness and good


for all the rights of man the vindication of woman


for all in the dark I pretend we are


for all the moral cause abolition the struggle for freedom


for all in the dark I pretend we are just


for all the history of heroes and foes the victors and the vanquished


for all the talk and talk and talk


for all in the dark I pretend we are just one soul


what would it mean at last to see


not Love not Truth not Beauty but who


has been in your house who sleeping in your bed?

  


  


  




This poem is from Shara McCallum’s forthcoming book No Ruined Stone, an imagined account of the Scottish poet Robert Burns’s planned migration to Jamaica for a job that involved supervising enslaved Africans on a plantation.