2 New Poems by Elizabeth Castillo : New Start & Black Dolls for Christmas

New Start

In all my languages, I have found there is no word for you. Although most vowels are the same, no matter where they sit on your tongue,
and life goes on, I’ve noticed, and tries to drag one along with it. But my bags are not packed. This time I do not travel light, or alone.
You’re mistaken if you think I’ve folded all this up neatly behind me.
You’re an idiot if you think I don’t know your twitter feed by heart.
I want to be like that crab that builds itself from bits of detritus- that decorates its shell with rubble from the sea floor. To feel and not feel, and breathe while underwater, to be a hundred people, a hundred creatures, and not be anyone at all. 
Who said that healing from mishap and mischief is linear? Who gets to decide the shape of my bruises but me? 
Such a tiny thing! Such small, such humdrum hours- all rolled up together into a quiet avalanche. Like a leech, I can’t shake this nuisance from my ankle, beneath each stone, battalions of fire ants advance. If I can’t carry this on board, I will sew it to my ribcage: (I’d like to see them try and prise it off me then!) Dawn is just the start of another day, when the
aircraft shudders, then dips, then plunges into the horizon. Down below, in the cargo hold, I’ve packed most of myself safely away.
You’re deluded if you think I’m not taking you with me. You’re a fool if you think I’m ever leaving this alone.

Black dolls for Christmas

A pair of black dolls sit under the tree,
waiting for my girls,
with a gripe about how hard they were to find.
And this is veal. Do you know veal?
Oh look! Another book,
Collected short stories from West Africa.
And… is that… a pot of shea butter?
Oh no, false alarm. It’s body cream.
A fruit-based concoction of some kind.
Smells like that pineapple I’ve been asked to carve.
They mean well, his family,
(although their ancestors didn’t.)
It’s the thought that counts
What thought was that exactly?
(I know what their ancestors thought.)
They don’t mean anything by it,
they want you to feel at home.

Home, my home?
(I thought they’d taken my home.)
In the lift, I nudge, and nod towards them,
the mixed-race couple, she- brown, he- white.
He- a tourist, she- a local delight.
“Do you see us?” I ask. You shake your head
and pull me close. I believe you.
But this is what they all see.
They mean well, these people,
when they called me bold. Exotic. “Audace!”
When their eyes snap to you for confirmation
as if you speak for both of us.
They mean well, these people,
with their books and black dolls
and explanations, and pineapples.
They mean well, these people,
But their ancestors didn’t.

Elizabeth M Castillo is a British-Mauritian poet, writer and language teacher. She lives in Paris with her family and two cats. When not writing poetry, she can be found working on her podcast or webcomic, pottering about her garden, or writing a variety of different things under a variety of pen names. She has words in, or upcoming in Selcouth Station Press, Pollux Journal, Authylem Magazine, and Tuna Fish Journal, among others. 

photo by Elian Jushari on Unsplash.com

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

4 comments

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s