Don’t say Tunapuna Police Station.
Say you found yourself in the cave of a minotaur, not
knowing how you got there, with a lap of red thread.
Don’t say forced anal entry.
Say you learnt that some flowers bloom and die
at night. Say you remember stamen, filament,
cross-pollination, say that hummingbirds are
vital to the process.
Give the minotaur time to write in the police ledger. Lap
the red thread
around the hummingbird vase.
Don’t say I took out the garbage alone and he grabbed me by the
waist and he was handsome.
Say Shakespeare. Recite Macbeth for the tropics.
Lady Macbeth was the Queen of Carnival.
and she stabbed Banquo with a vagrant’s shiv during J’ouvert.
She danced a blood dingily and age her husband
a Dimanche Gras upbraiding.
I am in mud and glitter so far steeped
that going back is not an option.
Don’t say rapist.
Say engineer of aerosol deodorant because pepper spray is illegal,
anything is illegal
Fight back too hard, and it’s illegal,
>your nails are illegal
Don’t say you have a vagina, say
he stole your insurance policy/ your bank boxes/ your first car
he took something he’ll be punished for taking,
not something you’re punished for holding
like red thread between your thighs.
From Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press)
By kind permission of the publisher
Shivanee RamlochanTo find out more about Shivanee, please visit http://www.forwardartsfoundation.org/poet/shivanee-ramlochan/
Photo credit: Marlon James