The Caribbean Writer

Rock and Relic

Vernon L. Jackman


It comes from that different way of seeing,
how sunlight falls

on rock
and scatters,

from the music
of flies

roaring in the sweet
ifiuvium of dropped fruit.

I tramp the coast
until I m free of condominiums.

Jooking up the sand
with a toe

plow it over for shells, any

evidence. They must have
come sculling over the prickly dawn

of shoals and skull pins,
tickled the dark

surface of morning

in their power

and called it by some lost utterance
eye: land of the gold

sand. They must’ve come
and stacked in hollows, built

forts, leveled green

billows of cane with the hot swing
bill and cutlass; hauled kenke

and calso from their wreckage,
salvaged in the pan god

Ogun. I search between
lumbering rocks

for trace,art-
fact, fossil crust in the stone.

Only butts remain
and green shards
of a 7up empire, shaped

and unsharpened by the salt.

Pebbles, worn seed-
smooth, ring against reefs:

oil drum notes.

Along shore
the low scrub of ivy

clusters between rocks: clumped,

green fingers
blistered by the tart sun,

where the blackened feces
coils, as if

ready to strike. I kick the dumb coast

hoping to unearth
familiar bones, and set them
down in image and meter.


Copyright © Vernon L. Jackman

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