Anthology preview; winner of the 2014 Carolle Bourne Prize for Innovation
Full, round belly in eighty-six
Divined as girl by
Reading linea nigra
Like tea leaves in a bowl.
Soothsaying truths swathed in conundrums
Fallacy for some
When the caul-less are proven
Both right and wrong
In a sweltering Bajan summer
When hunger pangs incite
Cou-cou cries and labour woes.
Christened XY and inducted
Into the fraternity of blue;
Harbouring XX ambitions
By formulating conditions
To get hands on a Barbie doll from Malibu.
Expressing a conflict in a world
Terrible shades of blue—
Floral dress fascinations;
Belonging to a race without name
Without voice because, well, shame.
Five is not too young to epiphanize
But too young to navigate through
Mature waters for answers
And solutions to the riddle of—
Self that is chameleonized
The hound’s annihilation of
The abnormal and the meek.
But we can only be we.
Identity under fire,
By fists of hostility
And bulla-boy choruses
Cauterized in memory;
Hate etched in wood to torment me
Whenever I sit at my assigned seat
Where I learn, not math, but
My life’s futility.
In time there’s no more room to fret.
Transition came from death when
Cancer touched me through—she,
And I sought to make sense
Of what was never nonsense
In the land of maple syrup, moose, and poutine.
Reconstructed views on what is my new—
No, my perfect ordinary.
Unearthing configurations of the woman
I was predestined to be, but yet
I am asphyxiated with their mister, not missus,
Because they can’t see beyond shallow beliefs.
“Juju science” raised hackles of
And I could cry, or bat my lashes and tell them,
“Take it up with your Almighty.”
Coming through Grantley
To deal with this impropriety
From a squat, uniformed invalidation of my identity.
And I don’t know why I worried
About the tuck in my jeans—
Whether my bane was concealed…
My passport still betrayed me.