Enslaved in the Gambia or Senegal,
scholars surmise, she survived the nauseous
and violent bottom line of the
Triangular Trade to be bought aged eight
as a maid for his wife by John Wheatley,
merchant and tailor of British-ruled Boston,
a known progressive in education.
She was christened ‘Phillis’ after the slave ship
that took her childhood. She was prodigious,
and was removed from domestic duties.
Tutored by his daughter, at twelve she knew