The Caribbean Writer


Cecil Gray


You forgot how the heat wets your chin with sweat
but you remembered always how elemental
everything is, how, like seeing a woman
you remained in love with, the sight of the canes
under the plane getting lower made you strain
to see more. The roar that it gives touching
down brings the thunderous waves of Maracas
into the cabin. The billboards may change their

ads, potholes stay filled for a while, and derelict corners
brighten the night with pizza outlets, but from the car
it’s the Swiss look of Mount St. Benedict that
re-enters the window and then retouched murals
fill the walls of the mind with traffic that snarls
twice a day on the highway, and white coiffured curls
the sea combs on the sand at Blanchisseuse.
But it’s not nostalgia; just memories that won

their own habitat, like when you hurry with strangers
rushing down Yonge Street and all of Toronto’s
skyscraping outline makes its own imprest
superimposed on the ones of Kingston and London
and Port of Spain. You ask how many rooms
does the heart have to store all the places that nest
in it. Yet its doors are wide to them all and it stows
your small island with cities and towns as it furls

new printouts. Toronto has come right in and spun
a fine web in a corner, catching leaps of the pulse on
Bloor Street, on Queen. It hums in a chamber with lodgers
you brought when you came. When the mind exhumes
life’s long-buried box of regret and rejection
no places are left absolved, yet bound in the breast
will be settings like this one where the soul is a rose
whose petals get richer in colour each day as it blooms.

There are symbols all of us tap at times on a keyboard
and up come those lives on disks that we hoard.

Copyright © Cecil Gray

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