Skip to content

Havana, Yasmine arrived one early evening,

the stem of an orange dress,

a duffle bag, limp, with no possessions


the sea assaulted the city walls,

the air,

the birds assaulted the sea


she's not coastal,

more used to the interiors of northern cities,

not even their ancillary, tranquil green-black lakes


though nothing was ever tranquil about her,

being there out of her elemental America

unsettles her, untethers her


being alive, being human, its monotony

discomfited her anyway, the opaque nowness,

the awareness, at its primal core, of nothing


a temporary ache of safety,

leafed her back like unfurling fiddleheads,

she glimpsed below the obdurate seduction of Atlantic


and island shore,

when they landed, a contradiction,

a peppery drizzle, an afternoon's soft sun


the oiled air of Havana pushed its way onto the airplane,

leavened, domestic,

the Tupelov cabin like an oven darkening bread

ossuary VIII

Dionne Brand

More from
Poem of the Week

George McWhirter

The Jaguar

translated from the Spanish written by
Homero Aridjis
Ishion Hutchinson