I’ve been wrong about you so long.
You’re not the colour of war
on Kingston streets. When you stain
you become rust. You cheat
even the flame tree, more orange
in truth than you in your crimson,
your scarlet robes. Not even
the poppy contains you.
Not even one hundred huddled
in the field. Maybe
like you I am a liar. Or memory
is a story I keep telling myself.
But I understand, being as you are
from a long line of women
who regard facts as suggestion,
who know what it is to burn
inside the closet of night.
Which is why, when I reach for you
and you careen the nearer you come
to my yellow, my alabaster skin,
I still croon your name.
I still insist on you, my lovely,
my death, my life.
Copyright 2017 by Shara McCallum