We forget the smell of canefields too
our cambric of dry season skies
grows spotty, soiled by foreign canards
shook from our souls the dust of an isle
to sink under Atlantic ocean trails
which we cross unbidden yet eager.
Sometimes we forget the old stories
that mango trees were our childhood
plums governed us like politicians
placed our red primers on our desks
stood alert to sing lustily to liberty
of creeds and races, our native land
Consumed, fires of hope and prayer
Consumed, pledge our lives to Thee
Consumed, our “destiny”, we said.
We forget Boyo and Carla, our friends
their lessons and profound meanings.
Anansi crept up on us in our dreams
spun the gossamer of story power
over our heart, as yet magic cocoons
or else it was red light, green light
mother-may-I, deep into starlit dusks
the balmy husks of coconuts at night
Could not contain this preparation for life
strange and ironic its paths, this life
bewildering and rugged its ways, this life
drunk as batemamselles wandering
by unreliable, treacherous schedules
of mating season seduction, this life
that seemed so impressive from far away
That made us slowly forget our fields
of cane, roaring sea in my country’s soul
great, good-hearted law not to trespass
the winding, sacred histories of slaves
indentured peoples, left their footprints
on the soil, so that when the ash flies
in a mid-day wind, we would not forget.
Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Summer Edward currently lives in Philadelphia. She is a Masters student in the Reading, Writing, Literacy program at the University of Pennsylvania. She blogs at http://www.well-lovedtales.blogspot.com/. Her poetry and art has appeared or is forthcoming in Philadelphia Stories and tongues of the ocean.