Sabrina Stuart Smith
If I’m truly akin to the West Indian manatee
is it best to reveal now,
though hearing it said aloud
makes it real for me?
My granny was the same
I heard her swim from mate to mate
breaking down her bedframe
she devoured them all
for me to be lauded
the faithful descendant
I’m surely not. My actions
yesterday prove my lot:
the forever spinning Sirenia
flipping onto my smooth, arched back
allowing shallow current to move me.
In my girlhood dreams, one was enough
but witnessing granny, in my teens
I discover floating carefree
in warm Caribbean waters
my best defiance against modesty.
Am I an outsider
because I fail to hear the cicada hum
because I relish beauty
in greasy Dutch pots
the aggressive, pencil-tip-like
a lasting scent of oxtail gravy
the scorched underbelly
on the heavy sealed coating
because I hear beauty in the
the pleasing chatter of my people
taking their place around the table
passing a plate of fried plantains
and cassava pone?
What else is there to savor
if not for the beauty of mom’s kitchen?
Surely I am able to hear cicadas
through a heavy shroud of indifference.
Sabrina Stuart Smith is a Toronto-born/-based writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. She received a B.A. in English from York University and studied Book Publishing at Toronto Metropolitan University. Sabrina previously resided in São Paulo, Brazil, where she studied Portuguese and taught English. Her work is published in Pink Panther Magazine and Shot Glass Journal.