Jannine T. Horsford

Days here when the sun doesn’t shine – it drenches.

Today I walk from the Small Gate

across Streatham Lodge Road under a sun doling out
heat like a tap turned on: a hot pumping revenge.

In the blaze of daylight, the street’s heavy length opens
ahead of me, and with it the quiet martyring

of someone’s pink oleander
the honest thirst in the stark eyes of the mechanics

on the corner and glimpses of the singeing terracotta
tiles of the roofs up on the Mount.

In this light nothing can hide. I see myself wrung out yet
wound forward by a singular desire.

And in this heat there is no shelter
for the men I have loved and their wickedness.

Not a palm, not an opportune frond of banana
for them to bundle their burlap selves under.

But in this stark white light I see one of them
as he comes towards me carrying

ochroes moist and green-green like himself
and with them an orange barge of pumpkin.

Those lovers – I could say I arrive at my yard
to their hooves’ mortal thunder – but that noise –

is only the drumbeat made by the feet of men.


Clearing, Tortola 2018

In a clearing, an unsacred
silence opposite a sea clotted
with dark sargassum —
a mountainous compacted horror:
piles of mangled wood, stark
as bleached bone.

My name is Jannine T. Horsford and I was born on 23 November 1972. I am a fellow of the inaugural Moko Caribbean Writers’ Workshop 2018 and have had poems published in Moko Issue 6, Junoesq Issue 5, Moko’s special issue, “Firing the Canon”, Issue 15 of The Manchester Review and inthe Cordite Poetry Review’s New Caribbean issue. Additionally, I am a fellow of the Caribbean Callaloo Writers’ Workshop 2016 and earlier this year, I was one of four featured readers at the Women. Everywhere. Her Stories event in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2018.