Isla Verde


Here, where children sing Vete,
where we ate fried plantains
and roasted pork by the roadside, water
has returned to calmness. On the beach,
men with red coolers are selling
beers. I walk down the road where people,
after Hurricane Maria, are trapped
in the aftermath of hope. Beside the bend,
a house sold cheaply to developers reminds
land of its gaping wound. I sit on a window,
sorrow stays with me. A song drifts from the beach,
a man sings. How same is the tenor of suffering,
how alive is my country in exile. Under the sky,
I smoke, thinking of aunties, of cheap calls
across the sea, of the women, loud and graceful,
dancing revival on sands. In the blue evening,
tourists paraglide back to land. Lights and beauty
of Marriott’s garden hold native parties. Here,
where flower patterned shirts hold memories
of the slave trade, I keep quiet, complicit
by blood, footprints left by black slave traders
on West Africa’s shore. The ancestors are here,
all eager, all defeated. Silent in history, silent
now, all my life the sea was waiting to be written.

Romeo Oriogun