Girl In The Basement: A Poem
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Girl In The Basement: A Poem

She lunges at me, but i push her back

Girl In The Basement: A Poem

My cement tongue

Makes a mockery of

My mother tongue

My accent now is store bought

Milk carton white

Baldwin, Elmira, Linden

Incised in suburbia

my Aunt's house

So close to my birthplace

Yet so displaced

my cousins speaking fluent patois

Tongues strolling through the

Stressed and unstressed syllables

One of these is not like the other

My patois is an old friend turned enemy(?)

She is the love i have for a country i never want to live in

I can only see her when the lights are off

She stands in the corner of my room

Of my mind

Lying in wait

She creeps across the floor,

waiting to sink in her nails, her teeth

take bites out of my flesh

For i have left her to starve

Once when were were young

She had brown skin with sunset undertones

Black wool hair

It's matted now, unwashed

Her cheeks sunken in

skin rough and ashy, white flakes peeling

Like the skin underneath a cast

And she smells of rotting wood

She lunges at me, but i push her back

And she scuttles away, into the corner of the room

Her face is a melody of fear, grief and rage

(She speaks the patois of the rural areas, incomprehensible to non-Jamaicans. I have translated it into standard english here:)

"You left me! You use me when you like, to give your cousins a laugh. Then you abandon me for months, years. I grow mad with boredom, my hands pare my skin for want of work. You have learned the language of ghosts, you have forgotten me."

My eyes swell with tears.

How can I tell her that I love her?

I have missed her so much

I have missed the heat of the land

The breeze

The cherry tree in my grandmother's backyard

The sound of the word veranda

Even the hurricanes, the cleansing of the air

I miss that almond tree

I miss crushing the pods with blocks of cement

Opening them up and eating it straight

I want to go back to that island

Hold the land close to me

Tell it that i have not forgotten

I tell her that I have missed her.

But here, no one knew her

I have no use of her

She lets me hold her

And we cry

I lay her down

kiss her forehead

When i return she will be a ghost

Gone to join the millions in this land

The land of ghosts is calling me

And I have no choice but to return

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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