The Caribbean Writer

Return from an Island Where Shyness Was a Necessity

William Joyce


(for Ellie Poindexter and Marie & Wills)


Shy and with the poise
of delighted uncertainty
I land on my feet
from an island reborn
again and again in some century
no one has heard of.
The casual certainty of a newsman
stuns me; only the advertisements
with their puffs of jolly delirium
seem innocent. The backfire
of a truck startles me
to curse. Each face
is gauged to scream
its need hourly
and there is no space
at all for the quiet necessity
of my shyness.


I’m not fabricating
a mood for a tourist resort
or doing the soft-shoe
to join the pack
of poetical frauds.
I’m speaking of the necessity
of my feet joining the dusk
with its translucent light,
step by step, through the crotch
of the mountain to hibiscus,
bleeding sun, bruised clouds,
statuesque, poised in a final
trajectory, one black bass piano note
strung through the canopy
of coconut palms till I step
into the sea, unafraid.


I’m speaking of what I can’t see
or hear


Copyright © William Joyce

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