I promised Well Read Robyn that my next post would be a poem. I wrote this poem sometime after my paternal grandmother died. In a way, it is part of my way of dealing with it and in another way, it led to my expressing myself about something else. But the poem is not for the poet but for the reader so I hope you will enjoy and don’t the give the genesis much thought. It was previously published in Fire Stick: A Collection of New & Established Caribbean Poets (The Drawing Room Project Association e-pamphlet Book 1) . I will also state up front that I am associated with the Drawing Room Project.
You took care of the animals. Fetched water.
Thread that held us all together; you
were patient with a vivacious child
not ready to lose hold of your apron strings—
Treaded the rice paddies, used needles to darn
and weave magic out of fabric. I imagined
a house filled with smells of jeera
and laughter; your curry stained fingers,
your brow knitted under the countless red skies
tinged with black from the cane fields burning.
I met your arms, practiced at holding babies
and watched your hair turn gray, your movements
get slower until your heart, big, could not keep up
with all the love inside it. I remember at end
of school-term, breaking up: ice cream, snacks
dress-up and the trip to grandma. In those days
the bogeyman was myth and father’s duppy stories
did not incite the cold sweat laced nightmares.
Now he is real and not all what I imagined—
Snatcher of thoughts, of remembering, he burrows
into your brain.
This visit is now a pilgrimage
to a house that keeps changing