Poem: "Carriacou" by Pamela Harrison
Carry-a-coo, a sound
like birdsong, ring-necked doves
sidling to sleep in a tamarind tree.
This Isle of Reefs winks eight-by-three
miles small in a peacock sea, where refugees
from plagues of ants on Guadeloupe first fled
with their thousand slaves. Abandoned here
at manumission, unprofitable as a cracked jug,
suffering two seasons—sodden and drought--
Cromanti, Ibo, and Chamba survived and thrive.
Among their seven thousand descendants, we’ll raise
to ten the number of white planter/volunteers.
Arriving in a squall, the pilot takes two tries
to land on a runway grazed by goats and cows.
The road trickles out to a jungle trail, climbing
vines insinuate through slatted blinds. Rain
slithers in muddy waves beneath the doors,
gurgles from the roof into a basement cistern,
our “catchment for the year,” purified for us
by some eyeless fish eating larvae in the dark.
Too tired to unpack, we eat a meal of crackers
and sardines. The cat mewls in unfamiliar rooms.
Kate hums comfort to her dolls as the sun sinks
into sea. No twilight softens the careworn day.
When we turn on the lamp,
every curious bug in the bush
shoulders in to welcome us.
From Glory Bush and Green Banana (Turning Point, 2017)
Pamela Harrison reads Carriacou