The Caribbean Writer

Plaid Pants

Toi Derricotte


At the bus terminal, she says:
Don’t sit next to him,
and she puts her finger
to her nose to signal
that one dressed in that costume stinks.


He wears a long white robe
a fur cap to cover his wisdom,
so it will stay hot
in this cold climate.
From the soiled seats heading towards Newark,
he stands up; turning,
I see his face.
I smell nothing, but his face
has its own dark light inside of
the dark of the cabin,
like a moon,
or a candle under smokey glass.
He goes back to the bathroom and
comes out a new man
in plaid polyester pants!–
his face, still strange, a mystery
one never wants to end; but his bottom,
sadly familiar, like the ending
of a story one turns the light out on
because one doesn’t want to see.


Copyright © Toi Derricotte

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