Poetry by Jerome Branche

• August 2011

jamaica farewell

(for Jan)

she lives in a hut
high above the bronx
happy in her three square
and her co-op shares of
permanence

in winter the
snows puff up on the
window sill
the water in the bay outside
freezes over
amtrak is a dumb drone
metallic boxes
frigid

coming in from christmas shopping
she codes her way
into highrise warmth
stomps the snow off her boots
and examines the gifts for home
this girl from ting country

you’ve come a long way baby
texas tlatelolco
kingstontown

outside amtrak is the
only living thing that
moves as she remembers
her visit last summer
and the snapshots taken
at dunn’s river falls
trying to rub some heat back into
her heart.

 

walking with ghosts

(for Cammy)

at the scene of
the crime
we found no headstone
to mark the burial
of dreams
no X to say
this was it”

so we turned away
childhood heavy on our minds
as time shrugged indifferent
and we heard with envy
the laughter of the neighborhood urchins
at play

 

guytracks brooklyn

(for Cyril and Cecil)

the romans knew
and nodded
was earth was come
for earth

they’d heard it in the trees
like wind wresting
leaves
some brown some green
some in between
some sudden

all fallen
earth seeking earth

wasn’t kite season
the scratching at the sky
of spirits triumphant
wings wide let’s fly

wasn’t christmas chorus
christ came for us
rum cake and raisins
like child eyes blazin’

wasn’t August Monday
run around funday

was wake house and wailing
was stout hearts failing
coffee biscuits and black shirts
a stifling of mirth

was quickening earth

the romans felt it.

 

Jerome Branche is a native of Agricola/Rome, Guyana.  He currently teaches and writes about Latin American and Caribbean literature in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He has previously published in Wasafiri.