The Whisper of Doctor Bird Wings: Poems
Department of Literature and Modern Languages
A series of five poems.
Needles of coconut husk
shoot from the kaya mattress
through the well-worn sheets
to sting Reginald’s little-boy body
like thirsty mosquitoes
each time he wriggles in bed.
Crocus bags laden with banana and yam
rumble with excitement
as the truck heaves its way up Mount Diablo
past a giant Poinciana tree, blossoms on fire.
“Nice job, bwoy, that leg look good. Just need to sand down likkle more.”
Reginald turns and twists,
twists and turns the wood in his hands.
and imagines his father
smiling from his eyes.
Michigan’s crisp autumn turns Reginald’s skin to ash—
a cracked, dry replacement for the skin left at home,
hidden in the folds of a young banana shoot.
1962, and the sweet aroma of independence is floating across Jamaica.
A national bird, a national flower, a flag.
In flight with doctor birds in a storm of lignum vitae petals,
people jam down Kingston streets
to the infant sounds of the Skatalites, Toots and the Maytals, and Bob,
wailing in the island’s womb.
Shaw-Nevins, A. E. (2013). The Whisper of Doctor Bird Wings: Poems. Sx Salon, 11 Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/shss_facarticles/872