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He wandered the shores
gathering the debris of
wrecked ships
mildewed planks
rusty metal
which he slowly patiently
crafted into
a small boat
that would carry him off the island

The asylum staff watched
his final loving adornments
then intervened
setting the vessel afire

Plaatjes watched
the final wisps of smoke
vanish in the damp sea-breeze
then turned away
ambled toward the shore
stooping again to gather
the sea’s offerings
of wood and metal and hope

— Marcus Rediker
Robben Island, Capetown, South Africa