Friendship Estate, Canaan, Tobago

Serena Allison Hearn*

I drift beneath two trees in a fishing net.
I’m in danger of falling asleep.
Wind rolls me in perfumed sea.
The sun’s blaze strains
through variegated leaves.
I’m in danger of sunburn.
Midnight, humming birds with crimson tails,
speckled black-and-white woodpeckers,
crows flaunting banana-yellow
tails and beaks,
and iridescent blue jeans
do aerodynamic skills in the canopy above,
attempting-some of them upside down-
to extract nectar from the pendulum-swinging
I am in danger of being shit on.
Wild peacocks roam, alternately trumpeting
like elephants or wailing like babies.
Some say there is an Amerindian burial ground here.
My lungs groan and strain like the talking-tree under the burden of wind.
I’m in danger of fever.
This new bird, small, yellow and black, that has joined
the cacophony is one feather too many.
I’m in danger of breaking.
The sudden white cloud is eating the sun;
red can explode without warning against a racing sky.
I fear the stray ghosts of Africans
who watch in the mangrove, and wait
along the trace that winds down to the sea.
I remember what it means to grow up too white on these islands—to be a child in paradise—waiting to pay

(From the book of poems,  Dreaming The Bronze Girl)
* Serena Allison Hearn spent her childhood in Tobago and now lives in Kansas, USA

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