She sits in an old peopleâ€™s home
thinking of feathers: how one
should hold them lightly; how they flyâ€”
like the four hundred acres she once owned.
For the young bride, life was kind,
orderly as the butterfly poised
on the green grass-blade.
At twenty-two, how could she read
portents in the sugar-caneâ€™s artful wave,
or the veiled murmur in its arrows?
They acquired her land to build an airport.
This time the metal-winged bird,
belly gorged with her future,
spilled, indifferently, its contents
to the far reaches of the world.
How heavy her last days weigh upon her:
How to turn it back? How to turn it all back?
Grant her the delicate wish-bone.
Pray for her a heartÂ light
as the feathers she speaks of,
and on which she rests her head
~ Esther Phillips
Esther Phillipsâ€™ (Barbados) publications include â€˜When Ground Doves Flyâ€™ (Ian Randle Publishers, 2003) and â€˜The Stone Gathererâ€™ (Peepal Tree Press, 2009). Her poems appear in several anthologies, and her work has recently been recorded for the Poetry Archive, UK. She is a Sunday columnist for the Nation Newspaper and editor of Bim: Arts for the 21st Century. She is the founder of Writers Ink Inc. as well as the Bim Literary Festival & Book Fair. In 2014, her poem â€˜Wordâ€™ was selected by BBC Scotland to represent Barbados at the Commonwealth Games.