Here, in a thick wood of scrub pine, blackberry, ivy, goldenrod, and crumbling stone walls, at the very edge of America, where “you hear the grating roar / Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,” is a plaque on which hikers pile stones and sea glass, as on the tomb of a Jewish sage or martyr. The plaque reads:
REBECCA WOMAN OF AFRICA
Born in Africa and enslaved in Chilmark, she married Elisha Amos, a Wampanoag man. She was the mother of Nancy Michael. Rebecca died a free woman in this place in 1801.
We come here very often, and I like to think of Rebecca and Amos clinging together on windy nights, whispering their true names, saying, “Ah, love, let us be true / To one another!,” safe at the tip of the continent, on a spot that nobody else wanted but the gulls and the cormorants.