Wednesday, June 3, 2015

First Word: Tessa Too-Kong: Current

I once saw Vicky almost swept away by the current. We were in the Courantyne at Robert’s Hydroponic Station some 90 miles inland, in the reedy savannah country criss-crossed by red-water creeks. I was with my 2-year-old who was wearing water-wings and paddling in the sandy creek shallows. My 5-year-old was playing water polo with Vicky and Wendy. His throw to Vicky was a miss and the big red ball set off swiftly downstream. Twenty-year-old Vicky, a tall golden mulatto with green eyes and the longest legs in Demerara, instinctively turned and launched after it. Being the strong swimmer that she was, she caught up with the ball in about five or six strokes and turned to raise it triumphantly in the air before she flung it back to us. As I watched, she swam more and more slowly back upstream, until each stroke became just enough to keep her where she was. After a while, I saw her grab a low-hanging branch and stop to rest, chest heaving, and I felt my own pent-up breath bursting to escape. I don’t remember much else except thinking, “Her mother drowned the same way when Vicky was a child.” The Fates – my mother believes in the Fates – were kinder this time.
            The other current so easy to get swept away with is fashion, be it in clothes, beautiful people, attitudes or opinion. The current President announced a (surprise) cabinet reshuffle on television last night. I don’t know why it took everyone by surprise when it was obviously what current opinion wanted, apart from her resignation of course. Conclusion: currents are cruel, so beware!

Monday, June 1, 2015

First Word: Mary Judith Ress: Lilac

Roses are red,
Violets are blue—or in this case, lilac,
Sugar is sweet
And I love you.

What does love smell like?
A subtle whiff of lilac on a cheek or a hand
Bread baking
Brownies right out of the oven.

Every year my lilac bush blooms in early Spring—
My sign that another year has passed.
Time again to review Love´s smells.

The old love for Grandpa,
these days smelling more and more
like his compost heap.

Mother love for sons-turned-fathers.
They smell of sweat hard-earned,
And of baby food on shirt sleeves.

Then this new love of grannyhood.
Long forgotten scents of a ripe diaper
And a gooey lollypop kiss.

Love, like lilacs, blooms to fullness,
Then mulches into something else