Another year, another love.
Oh wait, nevermind. It’s just you again.
Fallen for you again, Summer.
You charm me with your wide, t o o t h y grin,
promise me warm days, fat white clouds,
Cast a Lazy Spell over my world,
giving everything around us some sepia-tone lovin’.
You were always generous like that.
I float in your foamy waves,
drifting tall in those delicate bubbles
of higher thought.
Happily suffocated by your smell,
suntan lotion and saltsweat
and sweet free air
The taste of you, mmm, ice-cream, chlorine and
skin of all colors. Heat
in my belly, that drunken burn,
bitter adrenaline speeding
through my veins like highway traffic
zoom zoom, watch out.
Then you leave me.
Quite suddenly, unexpectedly. Leave me,
your heat lingering,
but your scent
your magic spell wearing off.
I cling to what we had, desperate for your love,
but you pay me no mind. You
dance out of my grasping reach,
as if you were not here, ever,
no, sorry, but
I don’t know who you’re talking about.
I’ll remember you on the day
I find sticky melted sweets
in the pockets of my alldayeveryday shorts
Melding my fingers together like our days together
Rainbow of tangy memories stuck in unidentifiable clumps to shreddin’ denim
Tiny threads of self torn
Never even realize what I’ve forgotten til I remember.
Then I’ll sit and wait for you
to sweep me away on your carpet again,
no clouds over sea, me head over heels
You’ll take me to that long summer day, to that night that never lasts forever.
•••Editor’s Note: Smitten is from the archives of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, an annual Challenge designed to nurture and showcase literary talent in Antigua and Barbuda. Rosalie A. Richards was 12 the first time she entered the Wadadli Pen Challenge, placing third overall for “The Creation”, and 18 in 2012 when she won both her age category and the overall prize with “Smitten”—poem she said was inspired by a lazy day by the pool keeping company with the Caribbean sun. She’s since gone on to many other adventures. When I got the invitation to do this issue, I decided to include selected pieces from the first 10 years of Wadadli Pen. I like the way Rosalie’s “Smitten” threads words together, imagery and flow sewn in in such a way that the poem itself feels like summer and the giddy head rush of young love. – JCH