“Two Poems” by Eugene Elira

Image by Sam Fentress, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.


For my mother

my only memory: a photograph
of you sitting in a turquoise dress—
that became a relic

two boys standing — one to your right and left
needing haircuts, one a fro, the other plaits—

me in shorts, my brother, half over all, both
blue donning gold chokers around our necks

I imagine you would press reset:
time shakes the shards of glass,
brush death off,
walk back, push the taxi upright
and it kept moving ahead—

the dead gain the knowledge of hindsight
hell, is you not able to do a thing about it

I wanted to write a poem
one foot in truth, the next in myth
To straddle reality
the plainness of thank you won’t do

I wanted to write a poem
that makes my mother get up and say:
the plainness of thank you won’t do
justice for how you raise them…

that makes my mother get up and say:
time doesn’t need to reset to get
justice, for how your raise them—
I see they are bless

time doesn’t need to reset, toget-
ther, out of love, we shape men.
Here, the past and future are mirrors
I see they are bless

Solange, out of love, raise us
in this world without praise or title



I remember shepherd needles
nestled in a jar full of bees

I remember sketching circles
in dirt playing marble for keeps

I remember the convictions:
girls climbing up the jujube trees

I remember them taking flight
kites made from strip coconut leaves

now I realize there’s lessons in
it all and how lemonade wasn’t

as popular—I had a tongue
for cups—water down kool-aid

mixed and freeze, we named by colors


Eugene Elira is a Bahamian poet of Haitian descent.