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Danielle Boodoo-Fortune'

January 2009

The Little Things


Moths

 

There are those nights when I am quite sure that

I have swallowed something warm and living.

there are thousands of thin, dry wings beating in me

Like an army of big, exhausted brown moths

Not butterflies, mind you, but moths

Deep dusky moths with eyes on their wings

shimmering with the exhausting closeness of death

thrashing uselessly against my insides.

 

And on these nights, it is exceptionally hot outside

My skin is damp with the heat of all these flapping wings.

 

It is on these nights I most fear that

I will burst into pure blue fire if you touch me.

Hints of flight rush from my parted lips when I speak

And my whole being aches and trembles to rise into the air.

 


My Mother and The Frogs

 

Not long after that one, crippling death

My mother began to see frogs

appearing mysteriously

all over the backyard.

Slim, elegant green frogs

With broad, all- knowing faces

And secretive, intelligent smiles.

Their yellow-gold eyes

Seemed to follow her, she said

And they would hold themselves upright

Just to get a look at her, leaning

elegantly on slender green limbs

exposing their delicate white bellies

to the cold touch of the moonlight.

 

They congregated at the washsink, she said

It seemed as if they were waiting for her

Doubling and tripling in number each night

Until our beds were covered with frogs

And our mouths were filled

With the short, sour taste

Of the word ‘frog.’

And with each slim green frog

That appeared in the yard at night

My mother began to hope

To believe, to dare to think

that they have come just for her

just to share the secrets

of how to walk in the dark.


The Dead Lizard

 

There is the outline of a lizard on our window

dried out, bleached, petrified mid- scamper.

It has been there for weeks, untouched, preserved,

mostly because I cannot bear to move it;

to feel its flat, hollowness on the pads of my thumb

to hear its dry death crackle against my fingernails,

I cannot look at its dusty, crumbling little eyes

nor at its once busy, now wasted little feet.

I must have slammed the window shut in blind haste

and in an instant, flattened its little body against the frame.

It must have been one of those wild night time rains,

and he must have been just darting back indoors

after a cool, pleasant evening out.

Tonight he is clinging to my mind,

just as he clings to the window frame,

flattened out and brittle,

and I sit here,

marveling at the little thought we give

to the countless windows

we slam shut. 


The Little Things

Father forgive us

For all the little things

We have crushed beneath our heels.

 

Forgive us

for the countless helpless things

we’ve stepped on, spat on and squished

without a second thought.

 

Forgive us

For our selective memory

blemished souls that we are.

 

Forgive us for crushing

The smallest of things

The most fearful and helpless of things

The most blameless of things

When all this time we’ve been

Breaking bread and laughing

with the dangerous ones.

Danielle Boodoo-Fortune' is twenty two years old, and lives in Sangre Grande, Trinidad. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Literatures in English. Danielle has been reading and writing poetry for as long as she can remember. Previous publications include the May 2008 Bim: Arts for the 21st Century, Women's Writers Edition, and a recent anthology, Heart to Verse: Wordlines from UWI, edited by Jennifer Rahim.



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