Poems by Karee-Anne Rogers


Look in the mirror and ask yourself—
“What haven’t I said to my mother?”

You were once young.
Now, not so young.
Yet, you’re still young
According to your mother and the women of your village.

One day you won’t have more time to talk to her.
She will join the ever expanding legacy
of Caribbean caretakers.
With the sound of her sucking teeth at you still in your head and
The loud complaints while she cleaned house making you
chuckle In Remembrance.

At the funeral they will want you to supersede normal human behavior,
Throw your body forward, and look upon her unmoving chest.
They will want to know who her favorite artist was and
Who she was when she was alone,
All the things they should’ve asked her before she was gone,
Before she was no soul, just bone and dust.
You of course won’t know the answers to the questions for you’ve known
your mother your entire life but
She’s only known you for a portion of hers.

You will ask yourself,
“Did I do enough?”
Who is to say?
She will be dead and you will be alone.
Maybe there’s something you will say to your mother
Or you will only have what’s left of her to cope with.
It will have to be enough for you to have the memories.

so i grew up and then i understood

Anguillians talk about death like young people talk about records.
“have you heard that new–”
“you hear that–”
The deaths pile up but numbers never seem to change. For every death there is a birth.
An aunty you never had know of.
A cousin to provide you tears.

a matriarchal patriarchy. complicated land of democracy. rainbows blossoming through
neo-colonial clouds.
guinep and mango and plum and gossip.
Like stories of death that leave the room drivel, children reminding elders to tighten jaws, to
keep saliva inside.

Back ini old days the Village Crier would find the person who people had dead and go tell the
village bout so-and-so
who had dead
on what day
at what hour
doing what and where
‘wit who knows who boy.’
My Mammie tell me she sister had drown. I did near drown mi’self a good few times.
Water does do what it want.
We just people. We can’t control it.

My uncle. He did die in a plane crash. It was he plane too. It wasn’t he fault.
He was just a man. He couldn’t control it.
I loss people ini water.
I loss people on land. People close to me.
I’m just one person. I can’t control it.

Anguillians talk about death easy as talking about TV.
I didn’t used to understand it.
It used to make me mad-mad — how dey could speak on it so easy?
but then I saw the news.
People getting shot. People getting stabbed.
Every day.
Every day.
Then I read, and I read some more.
And I left home for the first time and now I think I understand why
Anguillians talk about death as easy as talking about TV.

 House and Home

She stands amidst the sea.
Mine —
Home I’ve outgrown.
Home unknown —
Intimate. Understood.

House is two West Indian stories tall
And sunset pink with verandas wrapped around.
Home is white sandy beaches;
Water I trust could consume, but won’t.
Comfort is she,
Tranquility wrapped in blue.

Karee-Anne Rogers is a fourth-year student at the University of Pittsburgh studying Africana Studies and English Writing. Her family hails from Anguilla.