Sleeping With Red Ants
Fan blades sweep wind across my back.
Mid July heat punches holes in you.
Leaves you leaking gasoline like an old junker,
every day is a loss.
Lost two hours to a midday nap in grandpa’s room.
Slept on his bed. Woke up. Moved to the floor out of respect.
The red ants gave me a pardon that day.
His gravestone needs tending.
I’m afraid of my blackness.
No, not the color of my skin (black),
the color of my silhouette in the mirror (black).
The color of the vapor that leaves my body (black).
Black as Jamaican night sky (black),
where the she-goats outnumber people,
and your blackness doesn’t matter because,
black doesn’t put food on the table.
Black Bush and Bitters
Want isn’t the ill-placed stones that lead to grandma’s front doorstep.
Hues of red, green and gold haunt the stones.
Remnants of a Christmas tradition too old to date, too young to revive.
Want isn’t the pots placed beneath the holes in grandma’s roof,
pots placed at the soul of the room,
pots placed on an old stove. Match-lit, tragically rusted, burning the same.
Want isn’t the scar on my right wrist—corn in a pot.
The scar on my left knee—gold stone.
The scar on my right shoulder—proof I was born.
The mark tucked beneath my left armpit—grandma’s gift.
Want isn’t black bush, a name given because the name wasn't known.
Steeped brown liquid from black bush
every morning. More habitual than an alcoholics’ liquor.
No milk, rarely sugar. Sickness switched bush for bitters.
Preserved my youth—bitters. Left me livid over loiter—bitters.
Want isn’t black bush, or bitters, or a place in grandma’s home.
Trevone Quarrie: "I am a Jamaican immigrant currently attending the University of Pittsburgh to become a materials engineer. I like to keep myself balanced, so I refuse to left math take over my life. No matter how hard it tries."