When I heard you’d eloped with Madness
I resolved to move far away from
this village where the acid rain beats
like drumsticks on my grandmother’s tin roof
and blood drips from palm trees,
congealing on the ground.
I planned to drag my feet down
the narrow path mi madre took,
trace her footsteps by moonlight
or somehow harvest her brown limbs
from the ripening October wind. For we,
the children of the motherless tribe,
have become nomads, daily we rinse
the tear dust from our faces, and now
that the world is in the business of
murdering dreams, we’ve had to master
the art of sleeping with open eyes.
But now you are one of the, gone, and
everyday I die when I imagine
you on the road to Death’s dark cave,
making your bed with scorpions and thorns.
Here, the poui and the poinciana
no longer confide secret messages,
the sunset has abandoned the horizon,
the sonnets have vanished back into my pen.
So I resolved to move
far away from this village where…
but memories of you made me stay.
This poem previously appeared in the Jamaica Journal (Vol. 29, No. 3, 2006) and the Sunday Observer Literary Arts Supplement (2005).