Crosses to Bear
The best thing Len ever did
was to leave. Never mind
the six children, they’ll grow.
I understand how a chocolate
brown, 6-ft-tall, hazel-eyed, athletic-
built man got you; but Lord knows
that a man need to be good
for something other than that.
Still, when sea breeze carries
the smell of jasmine, you remember
Mama’s sad eyes when he called,
the evening walks up the steep
hillside in Port Maria where
knees buckled, and the salt spray
lingered on your eyelashes.
You thought that was love.
And how he held you tight
never prepared you.
Some say the cross saved you,
persistent screams for Jesus,
silenced even suicide.
Some say it was Mama’s
sweetness, jasmining the air.
Mama Said There Would Be Days like This
When fireflies no longer
light the night sky, when the fluteman’s
music dies down, band members
disperse, her poet friend caps
his pen for another season.
Yet she lies wordless,
taking labored breaths. Mama said
there would be days of the unthinkable:
the swinging twisting streets silenced;
the voices of her children fading. She could
no longer dive into the Caribbean Sea,
East Indian mangoes no longer sweet,
Mama said tears or no tears,
la luta continua.
Monica Minott is a chartered accountant and a PhD candidate in development studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. Two book-length collections of her poetry have won awards in the Jamaican National Book Development Council's annual literary competition. She has also published poems in the Caribbean Writer. In 2009, her poetry won first place in the inaugural Small Axe Literary Competition (see Small Axe, no. 32, July 2010).