Issue 2 : Spring 2011

About Author:

  • Alecia McKenzie

    Alecia McKenzie was born and grew up in Jamaica. Her published books include Satellite City, When the Rain Stopped in Natland, Doctor’s Orders, and Stories from Yard. She reports on human rights, development, culture and environmental issues...

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Travels With A Daughter


MYANMAR (BURMA) 2002

Black Mercedes limos

With tinted glass

Emerge from the night

Like a line of hearses

Waved to their positions

By white-gloved

Gun-toting

Guards

Their faces

Carved from teak

 

The cars

Discharge their riders

Sarong-clad

Heavy men

Broad of shoulder

And large of belly

 

Each step they take

Echoes their power

Despite the incongruous

Little leather thongs

On their feet

toenails immaculately clipped

of course

 

I watch this procession

Of generals

With unease

Unable to completely quell

The flutterings of fear

 

But you, oblivious still

Cry out in the night

“bye bye”

And several of these mighty men

Turn their heads to stare at you

Hard mouths ready to bark

An order

 

But disarmed by your little-girl giggle

One by one

They somehow manage

To crack

A smile

 

JAMAICA 2002

The mango juice

slid down your chin

dripped

onto your powder-blue dress

 

you bit into the flesh

of the fruit you held so tightly

your face a portrait

of childish delight

 

and when more nectar

rolled down your arm

drawing an orange line

from wrist to elbow

 

your tongue

swept a clean path

just the way mine used to

from elbow to wrist

 

your grandmother –

older, smaller than the last time I saw her –

laughed at you and shook her head

“Mi pickney come home,” she said.

 

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