Undergraduates Celebrate Second Consecutive Virtual Housing Day
Dean of Students Office Discusses Housing Day, Anti-Racism Goals
Renowned Cardiologist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Bernard Lown Dies at 99
Native American Nonprofit Accuses Harvard of Violating Federal Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
U.S. Reps Assess Biden’s Progress on Immigration at HKS Event
Day 1: This day they bought 11 men, 6 women, and 3 girls. They bought me. I still hold onto his face.
Day 5: This day they bought 7 men, 3 women, and 4 boys. None are him.
Day 6: This day they bought 13 men and 4 women. They were very good negroes. They were ugly, dirty, and strange. It is easy to forget what you look like. I wonder in the quiet if he knows I am gone.
Day 8: This day they bought 5 men and 5 women. Few of us can speak together. It is dangerous to be alive. I wonder in the quiet if he misses me. In the dark a woman died. In the light a man died.
Day 12: This day they bought 0 men and 0 women. I look at the faces in the dark with me. They cry silently. I cry silently too, for him. I wonder in the quiet if he is gone. They bought provisions. It was an afterthought.
Day 15: This day they bought 12 men, 11 women, and 1 boy. He is not him.
Day 17: This day they bought 1 man, 4 women, and 1 boy. He is not him. I seek colors through the cracks. Blue is what I see. Blue is what I love. Blue is how I see him, the one I love. In the light a man died. They said he had not been sick 12 hours before. They said.
Day 32: We awake above the water. I do not know for how long I have been below the light. I do not know for how long I have been above the water. The floor rocks differently. The air tastes differently. I wonder in the quiet where he is. In the mystery a man died.
Day 33: They counted the lives. 175 men, 135 women, 9 boys, and 10 girls. I wonder in the quiet if he lies in the dark. I quickly stop. I do not want to wonder what I would do if I knew he did. A boy comes to me. He looks at me. I look away. He looks like a small animal. Fragile. In the mystery, one man and two women died.
Day 39: No life today. No death today. I do not know if I can smell the wretchedness or not anymore. I wonder in the quiet if his fingernails are caked too.
Day 67: Their negroes were now for the most part in health. Are we their negroes? The boy returns. He needs what I need. My son is still here. I hope.
Day 70: I do not see the boy today. Water leaks through the wood above that keeps away the light. We do not move. When still, there is no hope. When still, I wonder in the quiet if I will forget him. In the mystery, two men and one woman died.
Day 76: Water leaks through wood again and mixes with the wretchedness and makes people sick. I no longer feel sick. I need to survive for him. The trick is to hide. I hope he hides. Take from the boy and hide. I wonder in the quiet if he knows I need to survive for him. In the mystery one man died. They said he had been sick a long time.
Day 79: The boy looked sad today in my memory. I did not see him today. I was worried. He looks sad every day. I do not look at anything. I would rather see him than see myself. I do not need to see myself if I cannot see him. I wonder in the quiet if he forgets what I look like. In the dark, two men and one woman died.
Day 82: In the dark and then the early light, two men and the boy died. I see my son in his face. His face is now gone. It is thrown in the water. It is too dark to see myself. I do not want to see myself. There is no me without him. I cry loudly in the dark for him. I know he will never come again. I do not live for myself. The water entices me, but it does not invite me. I look to the blue. I cry out for his smile.
This morning, the wind is gone. I no longer wonder. There is nothing to wonder.
Voyage ID: 9978
— Maxwell A. Gillmer ’21’s column “Death Business” is an anthology of short stories, recounting fictionalized narratives inspired by true entries from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. Each installment follows the story of a new individual — some named, some unnamed — on a different voyage from Africa to the Americas. This installment is based on the vessel “Arthur.” Voyage ID: 9978
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.