Celia A. Sorhaindo

…good, good night. Kekeke. I jus remember readin what de wise man say in meh son clever people book oui, the snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. Maybe dat man know de secret too. I know more about skin an udda tings dan him, more dan any wizened man. Kekeke. Son, meh only kin, meh flesh blood, bone born, where you be? I kill a snake once. True true. Well not me dyin tonight nah. Kekeke. What de time? 12am, must hurry hurry, gettin late. See how time fly, flies by. Have to go, have to go. Kekeke. If dey catch me dey’ll skin me alive. Kekeke. Son, son, why you stay away so long? I feel a dark hollow in meh insides an around meh outside head. An empty empty. Dey come steal meh tings. I cyah find anyting since you left. Dey say I mad. Dey say I smell bad. Dey say I black black an ugly, 80 years an more ugly. Meh still high backside, broad wide lips, pain-pivot hips, hung pointed breasts. hagged. unattractive. dread-full. Dey want de land. But what land I possess? Dey want disappear me. Dey want meh hard worked little little money. But I hide it good. Kekeke. Who dere? Who dere? Oh Oh winsome wind, you dat dere nah? You comin for ride tonight? Kekeke. Son, yuh Daddy gone so long long…but I glad oui. No no, dat not true, I miss him bad bad. His Old Spice close skin contact. You an yuh fadda same same smile like a simile. Kekeke. Hurry hurry, must hurry but bent bones slow, breakin. Who tell me live so long nah? Kekeke. Lovely lawless lifetimes doing what I will doh! No-one go tie an wind me up…but lonely me lonely. Always lonely. Long time lonely; in meh blood blue lonely. I kill a skinny cat once. Mammy you happy up dere with God? I bet you two pally pally. Even alive you already a martyr. Daddy try hide his breath but we see signs on yuh skin, an under yuh thin skin. Kekeke. I hung it by its tail an skin it a clever new way. Son, dey stealin all meh tings. Is wicked dey wicked. Hurry. Where meh mortar now? Where to hide it tonight? I remember dat time policeman John from de village look up at de wrong time an see me. bang bang. I fallin. I fallin. I thinkin life over for sure. Kekeke. But de old silk cotton tree catch meh fired tail an hide me good good. Son, come home nah. Dey comin in meh house an stealin meh tings. Doing what dey want with me in broad broad day light. Dey say I deformed. 

Meh skin. Hurry I have to hurry. Where to hide it good good? Cyah let dem find it. Sprinkle salt. Kekeke. Not tonight dey catchin me. Mister, is you I gettin tonight. I see de way you treat yuh wife. Take her high vitality. Nasty you nasty. I comin an fix you good good. Kekeke. Hurry. Quick turn in de mirror, last look at skin. Look me now! Real naked shame less glowin serpent. Dey want meh home, all I save up an down. Have to go. Wind good good. Sky clear, slither moon. I see no rain till mornin. I flyin fast an high, higher dan Icarus. I bright bright, power-full tonight. All meh light life I fill up with energy. Kekeke. Dey tryin catch me out. Which human never like a witch hunt? Dey teasin me, pushin me, callin me names. I help dem birth dere babies good good. Show dem where an how to bury de coiled silver slither of cord, an why. I give dem all de knowledge, de right herbs, de bush teas, de hand-down old-time remedies, de spells for a spell ah fright, for a turn ah nerves. Dey doh even think to ask what hell I catch in meh skin dis life, what I see, what I feel, what I know. Kekeke. No worry, someone catchin fire tonight. Hurry. Son I miss you. Dey doh even look me in speck ah meh spark-eye. Come home nah. I know de island small small but it deeper dan you think an de vibration high high. Plenty plenty under de surface. I have tings to show you, teach you, good good high knowledge, wisdom to fill you up, make you underthink overstand every tiny tiny ting in de whole universe. Make you know yuhself bad bad. Good good. I reach de crossroad. I land. Kekeke. Mister gettin a taste tonight. Well, I too gettin an energetic taste oui. Kekeke. God, why dey wicked so nah? What I do, make dem treat me like dat? Make de children throw stones, call me names. Push me. 

Hurry. 3am. Sun cyah catch meh tail. Keyhole, crack or under de door tonight? Good good, no rice. I kill a cow once. Why I sense someone watchin me? Who dere? Who dere? Kekeke. Doh let me catch you nah. You smell me? You smell meh heat bad, meh bright burnin? I smell you. I’ll be good for you. I comin. Comin to suck you. Make a blue-black bruise. Mark up yuh neck. Wicked you wicked. I’ll make you highjump pale right out ah yuh thick skin. I am eight, an de nun English teacher say is dunce I dunce. Point at meh poem spellin. Make me stand on a table with a D hat on meh head, whole class laughin laughin. But she know I smarter dan her, is shame I shame her. I reach. I comin. Kekeke. I come show you de god awe-full fearsome flamboyant hellfire you yellin soucouyant. Kekeke. Kekeke. But I just pullin yuh big toe. Just playin with you. Is not vengeance I come take nah. uhuh. Look. Here. I left you a morsel ah worm-free immortal glow, someting hidden, to silver slither slowly coil under yuh skin. Kekeke. Let me flee oui. Thunder an lightnin. Rain comin. Need to fly home quick quick before sun return an turn fast fire on me. Good good night. Hehehe…

Celia A. Sorhaindo was born in The Commonwealth of Dominica. She migrated with her family to England in 1976, when she was 8 years old, returning home in 2005. Her poems have been published in The Caribbean Writer, Moko Magazine, Susumba Book Bag, Interviewing The Caribbean journal, Anomaly journal, New Daughters of Africa Anthology, and longlisted for the UK National Poetry Competition 2017/18. 

She is co-compiler of Home Again: Stories of Migration and Return, published by Papillote Press and her first poetry collection, Guabancex, was published in February 2020, also by Papillote Press.Celia is a Cropper Foundation Creative Writers Workshop fellow and a Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop fellow.