Zaboca Child / lelawattee manoo-rahming

De midwife bring meh screaming out,
Mama crying turd girl, fort chile
Papa weeping, bury meh navel
string under de zaboca tree
so ah could bear fruits like
big, purple pears

De pundit call meh Lelawattee
loyal, faithful, shining like de moon
hope fuh a lorse generation so,
ah could make sons tuh imitate
dat fabled phoenix an rise from drunken,
cursed ashes tuh perch on El Tucuche

But papa should ah bury instead
meh afterbirth under de silk cotton tree
where it would ah dance with douens
in ah backward swirl ah infertility
ah ghostly realm ah screaming dreams
dat should ah be, but nevah go be


This version of “Zaboca Child” was originally published in From the Shallow Seas: Bahamian Creative Writing Today, (Casa de las Americas, 1993)


is an Indo-Trinidadian poet, and prose writer married to a Bahamian and resident in The Bahamas. Her poetry and stories have appeared online and in numerous publications around the region, including The Caribbean Writer, Journal of Caribbean Literature, Poui, WomanSpeak, Yinna, and numerous collections and anthologies. She has won several awards for her writing, the most recent being shortlisted for the Proverse Prize out of Hong Kong, part of which was the publication of a book of poetry, Immortelle and Bhandaaraa Poems (Proverse Hong Kong, 2011). Among the other awards are the David Hough Literary Prize (Caribbean Writer, 2001), the Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for Short Fiction (Caribbean Writer, 2009), and Overall Winner of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Short Story Competition. She is the author of Curry Flavour (Peepal Tree, 2000) as well as Immortelle and Bhandaaraa Poems.

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