let bygones be bygones

x marks the spot where the hatchet is buried-
once and for all
under the thatched roof hut

stash it flash it mash it up baby

as palms nod teasingly towards the sea
scrappy dogs roam free scampering ahead
or lagging behind as we stagger along-
their watchfulness a keen reminder
that there’s a bleating heart of darkness 
on this island

the sea is blue but gritty too washing up
seaweed and salt and coughed up blood
from a past where blood was bought or taken
or buried in the mangrove swamps
scrubby hills sugarcane
all those places where fire burns debris

surrounded by a gaping witness-
the mouth of sky asking

why do some have so little
while others have so much?

sullen sons silently wield machetes
in a slow skulk down a dusty road

long-legged daughters are silent too-
spiders sitting idle out front weathered shacks
painting glitter over bubblegum polish
rainbow curlers bobbing round their heads
occasionally stirring odd chicken parts
that simmer and brown on the stove all day

someone stuck a drying starfish
in the mossy palm-tree’s trunk
someone raked dried leaves from the sand
early morning shadows flickered cross-hatched
on the walls of the thatched roof hut
where the hatchet is buried

let bygones be bygones

stash it flash it mash it up baby

wild island dogs curl in sleep-
now and then opening a weary eye
just to make sure all is still safe


Loretta Oleck is a poet and psychotherapist. Her poetry has been published in reviews/journals including The Westchester Review, Feminist Studies, The Mom Egg, Laughing Earth, Poetica Magazine, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Marco Polo Arts Magazine, among numerous others. More recently her work has been read at The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, as well as at other venues in and around New York. She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from New York University.

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