V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





How silent the sea sounds,
inland on this island, the churlish
surge dampened outside this ruined
plantation.  I have walked

a black track, stringless,
no sealing wax, bearing only
bananas, their yellow smell ripe
in Caribbean air.  There,

where the asphalt bleeds
into sand, this is where I was told
he would be.  By the sea,
some forgotten foundation,

an old groundskeeper's cave,
limestone slabs tipped by delinquent
papaya, feral coconuts pressing
native palms for each acre

of sky.  Migrant warblers flip,
off bananaquits, winter cousins weaving
a dense mat of yucca-like succulents, quarreling
among snarls of stickery vine.  There are eyes

watching, oddly aqualine cabocons,
vertically slit.  That dead bough might stir,
from some stray ray, sun spangling
stripped bark into beaded brown

leather, cold blood warmed
on gold stone.  I might hear
that ancient gait, each step
intent, and the serpentine twist,

a long tail shushing dry brush.  Maybe
see the saurian face, dewlap unfurling
a masculine flag, the meaty tongue's
pink flick, tasting, tasting.

Obsidian ellipses slant
my landscape, touchstones
spiraling on updrafts.
I lob my last bit of banana

back at a vacant grove,
to some unseen iguana
lost among relics, deadfall
scattered under sentinel stones

overthrown by the sweet
thrill of my summer
warblers, the sloe scent
of cherries.

© by Chris Ellis


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