Poem by Jannine T. Horsford
Listen: a throat quickened by a kind of stunning cannot pour out like mellow tea, a Good Morning. That flesh, arrested, obeys only its need to choke. Consider my greeting a tennis ball (brief fluorescence) which when hurled grows silver, blurred. To expect them to return it was not fair game: they did not have time to gather provincial nerves, unsnag the mess of their reflexes. Then again, Caribbean hips: that wilful rippling makes any resolution of goodness unsteady earth. Maybe to say it while going past me was to accept that my breath and my body had a right to that pristine— to what they must have seen as their own pearled, girlish light. But look now: 15 years. This street in Tunapuna. A painting, a picture. Leaning in at its edges are rain-lavished green leaves —and witness in one yard the silken wilt of an off-pink bloom. Still. Here, on mornings, mouths are long and sullen or thin and terse. Almost all stoppered. Not here where the rain has relieved the wooden slats of their rashness. Not where a window wears a vintage lace— pink of flower girl dresses in the satin sheen which aunties loved. I know some bodies are blistered with tension. I know to walk here is often to cut one’s way through a swamping heat—but some days shouldn’t it be enough—the way this street ends? With trees, broad and beneficent as bells?
About Jannine T. Horsford
Jannine Horsford is a fellow of the inaugural Moko Magazine Poetry Masterclass (2018), the Callaloo Writers’ Workshop (2016), and the Cropper Foundation Caribbean Writers’ Workshop (2014). Most recently, she won the Bocas Emerging Writers’ Fellowship for Poetry (2022). She is currently completing her debut collection, Island Chimera.