in my parents’ country they discovered spiders big enough to eat small dogs. the interior jungles are so dense with vegetation. so wild that the only equivalent to the free roaming wild cats are the hearts of the people who run beside them, and those who have peopled the shore. you would laugh, you know? to know that I used to lament that I did not come from resort beaches. from umbrella’d drinks and bands performing in floral button downs. you see, I did not yet understand what it means to be from, to derive from, to contain, such a wilderness. a homeland that is raw and exists without the interruptions of pretty mahals or havelis. this wilderness is so selfless, it will save you and you won’t even know it. carving from itself to give to you. Chief Kai, rowing himself over the falls. believing he could sacrifice himself to save his people. who am I to forsake that redemption for rum and coke on the beach. for the lure of bejeweled carnivals and sexy turtle bays. I come from blazing hot sun. I come from a shoreline that flirts with the equator, wind that makes love with the trees at high noon in a most sweltering heat that proclaims their passion to the world. I come from generations of migrants reduced to oral histories that are cratered by the fallacy of memory. I come from brown and black skin from bones cracking under the weight of finding work. Any work at all. I come from a network of rivers with names that command the full use of your tongue. I come from Potaro and Rupunini and Mazaruni. I come from Demerara. and the Demerara gave its blood to give sweetness to the world, and bled into me so that I can stand here today and say death to the sugar trade because? I am wild.
Elizabeth Jaikaran is the proud child of Guyanese immigrants. She is a New York-based author and lawyer, with work appearing in Huffington Post, Playboy, The Higgs Weldon, Brown Girl Magazine, Sorjo Magazine, The Muslim Observer, The Jurist, and the New York Law Journal, among other mediums. Her first book, Trauma, was published by Shanti Arts in 2017.