Autumn in the Bahamas

Noting stretch-hummers long as Nassau’s narrow roads,
tropical Starbucks, slim cellphones, broke-down
Nissans with spinners, red weave and
sleek golden highlights all mounting popularity
and fucking the population into a Foreign Fetish frenzy,

one autumn, trees join rank. Begin to glow.
Beaches gleam with October flush, the casuarinas
a mottled gold. Hibiscus leaves purple, shying their
blooms to shame. Dillies dip into auburn vats and shake,
dying oleanders, African tulips
red-rendered bark, blooms and all. Breadfruit leaves
like squashed persimmon, guava trees yellow
as spent fruit, whole island’s leave ablaze.

November, they begin to drop. A scarlet of tamarind
flutterings, tiny children’s painted nails.
Dillies, naked to the bone, brown fruit shocked and
exposed. The narrow streets grow thick and big trucks,
little jeeps, stick in the jook-jook corners, knee-high piles, nowhere to turn.

Yellow pines drip tinged needles to the swamps
’til you can walk where water was, once.
Bush turns like spoiled fruit. Sand blush, then bleed,
then beg its breath, the sea weeps with the weight of washed-out
leaves staining, tides heavy with the strain.

Airborne, the strike of one banana leaf
could tear a window screen, smack an old lady off her feet.
Each lost leaf is a fallen arm. Limbless, there is no life.

There is no raking up a neighbourhood covered
in downed palm fronds, each long as a small boy.
Naked, the plantains shiver, fold their
softened bodies down over half unfurled fruit
clenched like fingers and
never-ripe.
Above, shocked, survivors stand back.
Look aside. Wait for cold.

 

About Janice Lynn

Janice Lynn is a Bahamian writer. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia, and has published in journals and anthologies including Tongues Of The Ocean, A Sudden and Violent Change, and We Have A Voice. Her writing has been shortlisted for the 2011 Small Axe Literary Competition and the 2012 and 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Vancouver, BC but will always be a Nassau gal.
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