Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Tropicana first, then whores.
She was the only speckled-skin whore in Duckenfield,
youâ€™d have to pay real copper to drink her browningâ€”
good hairâ€”a talcum-star blazoned on her chest.
Evenings, on the way from primary school,
I saw her, dressed in cowgirl boots and cutoffs,
blouse opened on a barstool outside The Cool Spot,
fanning herself. Men in factory uniforms
and cane-black suits talked all at once to her.
Sheâ€™d kick out her boots when touched,
scattering them like fowls, bickering and fighting.
Theyâ€™d cool down, regroup, talking smooth,
buying her drinks. She never spoke, only smiled.
Sometimes, sheâ€™d walk away with one. One evening,
she waved at me from her perch. The day felt strange:
she wasnâ€™t a whore, but a bronze goddess
with the powdered star of my passion,
though I was too young to serve, (but soon).
After that evening I walked by the bar
in slow motion, watching her long, sad face,
wishing to be old, waiting for my wave.
It never came, her star faded.
She was stabbed in a bar in Kingston.
Only men attended her funeral, extra drunk.
I watched her hands in the casket.
~ Ishion Hutchinson
Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. His poetry collection,Â â€˜Far District: Poemsâ€™Â (Peepal Tree, 2010), won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award. Other honors include a Whiting Writersâ€™ Award and the Academy of American Poetsâ€™ Larry Levis Prize. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University.Â