Being Sent Back / janice lynn mather

Nassau. The promised land.
Fire blooms burn into the
blue sky peace water
clear as tears touched
green, the famed beaches white


They wait for us at the dock
in sharp white uniforms,
a clean white bus to match,

En route to the detention centre,
driver stops at a huddle of shacks
back behind fence vine bush.
They drag out men and women,
children trail a chatter of Creole.


We are being sent back.


They are richer than heaven here, healthy
as hell. The streets blood-paved.
Any old yard, doctors, professors
chap crab grass, tame cerasee,
trade medical analysis and book critiques
as machetes beat back weeds against
metal fences, clink, chink.


The women’s hips move
lyrical familiar down the narrow streets.
Like us, they hold a language
crammed into their mouths, lips pinned shut
fists smashed in til tooth fragments
and broken words spit
bitter out.


Pink knives in children’s mouths
make Hi-Shun a curse word,
though half at least are quarter Jean
and an eighth more Pierre.

Hate, a whittled twig, slices that part
of them out, spills it onto pavement dust.
Instead, they wear gold bracelets,
sometimes crosses,
always fancy hats on a Sunday morning,
praise God, little girls hibiscus fresh
in lace dresses laugh dawn
into the tiny sky.


Taking off from Nassau’s western
end, one sees water again,
salt graves beneath,
dark patches they call reefs.
Bones scratch the ocean bottom.
Below the surface, nationhood it
seems to wash away.
haitian fisher bahamian
cargo ibo jetski yoruba drowned
ashanti overboard.

Down there, flesh peeled
away, the same.

All white bones
good friends.



ja**ly would rather you read her poems than her bio.


  1. Janice hun, when are you going to delight us with a book please?

  2. I love this peice…the words just spin around your head. I’m almost dizzy, but it feels good.

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