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Michelle Whittaker


I was on my way 
to a market I think with —

we were on our way, 
on a cobbled stone
street set in Spanish Town. 

Mary said 
you look lost again.

I find it funny how
the body howls for water —
continues to press
even when it thinks there is
there is very little left —

Mary insists
have you lost weight again?

Do you mean 
have I ever been disowned
from my body’s sweat 
or my mother’s rosary beads — 
on a cobbled stone 
street set in Jamaica?

Do you mean
have I ever walked 
on a dislocation, on an ankle 
resetting on a cobbled stone
road through a market place 
with the feeling of faint after
hunger?  like stripping sign posts 
from the gut — like a submersible mercy?

Mary half agrees, 
that does sound painful

and all for what, 
for not listening to 
my mother’s advice?
or at least pretending
that when the eyes welled up
for nothing more 
than into an aisle of stone, 
confirmation was a blessing
on a collect call:

for it takes a special person 
to leave her daughter
in a foreign place — and unwed


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