Behind the Bailey Town House

GEORGIO RUSSELL

Gulls hover in a squawk song over my stretch
yard-a sea. They holler hoarse as a craving
heart, plunge now and then for what
among the stingrays may liberate them
briefly of beating wings. Young Gullah-tongue
bui, bony like Eleuthera, I sip the last ginger
of a malt then offer its cap as if bread. See how
the starving mistake my litter for manna, see how
I grin like some god or child at the disarray
dance, each beggar bird eager in this sunhot
to sate a dream, misled like migrants by a splash
of the inedible. Now they are shadows
feathered heavy with salt–look now they war
into a new ascension, having done nothing
save seek the alms of a callous Colossus.
Watchful cross the backyard gulf: Miami spanning
my horizon whole. Soon, some black epiphany
grows me. Then what pleasure in torturing
these gulls is gone. Their trumpets tear into me
something like sympathy, repentance, an ache–
an ache burning worse than abandon.

Georgio Russell is a Bahamian and recent graduate from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. He is a past winner of the Ian Randle Publisher’s prize, the Peepal Tree Press Prize, and the Mervyn Morris Prize for poetry. Russell was also a featured poet for the British Council’s project, “Unwritten Poems: Exploring Caribbean Engagement in WW1.” He currently lives in Brampton, Ontario, where he teaches English for Educate Academy.  He has poems forthcoming in yolk! Literary Journal.

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