Tina Barr, "At the Infirmary"



Under the fans of stiff seagrape’s red-veined
leaves, a Rasta rakes the sand, dreads
tucked in a snood, props the sign for Topless.
Cows idle, rears in the road; conches’ pink
vulvas shine on counters chandeliered with bananas,
our road two feet from a teal sea. In Lucea
we put our necks in the stocks, study
a treadmill, planks built as steps on a revolving
wheel. Its climbers’ hands were tied.
The elderly lie all day in barracks
while Mara records their oral histories.
Lovelle, whose brother-in-law set her sister on fire,
and I chug Fanta, swivel our hips to Marley,
eat plantain chips under bougainvillea’s dried valentines.


Tina Barr's book of poems, The Gathering Eye, won the Tupelo Press Editor's Award. Her other awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Ucross Foundation. Barr's poems have been published in Shenandoah, Witness, Notre Dame Review, The Mississippi Review, Brilliant Corners, Parthenon West Review, New South, The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, Poetry, and elsewhere.