The Great Dying
Walking near my moribund childhood home,
I saw her –
refugee from the Shore of Corpses,
lauding the conquest of termites
on Archie’s birdhouse
still hanging from the raw-boned Mango Graham Tree.
proprietress of the death rattle
teetering on our Chinese Skip space
courting the ebbing grass,
breaking up the assembly of
l e a v e s
and the carrion battalion’s
chewing of our Fluffy,
the parts that once purred and curled up
near our feet.
cracking the orphaned earth,
reviving the ash from Marquis’ coconut husks,
exhuming family annals
from our naval string catacombs.
Wan-skinned Náströnd Belle,
japanned with the whiff of chrysanthemums
stealing who we were.
I saw her:
ii. inter caetera
This is not me.
Half of a self –
troubled in this skin
dressed in the crud of Zong,
seasoned without the juba rhythms.
Not a self.
Alicia Valasse-Polius is a Caribbean writer, born and raised in Saint Lucia. Her work has been widely published in anthologies, journals, and magazines such as The Caribbean Writer, Cordite Poetry Review, Moko Magazine, Harlequin Magazine, Poui Journal of Creative Writing, among others. She has worked as a non-fiction writer in St Lucia and the wider Caribbean. Valasse-Polius was shortlisted for the Small Axe Poetry Prize and awarded the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for Best Short Fiction and the Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize.