Empire Falls

By Carlyon Blackman
His hands were the first things I noticed.
They were the last things I would see.
A strangler’s hands. Thick. Blunt. Brutish.
Neatly pared. They excited me.

They told me I could be beautiful.
This body that made me weep for being unlovely
So his body framed mine
Like an apology.

Time lay spent (was it long? … I forget)
Conjugating verbs in my head
Once you get a feel for the logic of things
It is not so very complicated.

I made his acquaintance again briefly in bed
Three decades later reading the paper;
His widow and son grieved a beloved’s death
And I, I breathed a little easier.
Carlyon Blackman lives in Barbados. She loves to eat people and meet food. Previous and forthcoming publications include Pine Hill Review, Four Chambers Press, The Caribbean Writer, Bim Magazine, Bamboo Talk Press, Susumba, St Somewhere Journal, Tongues of the Ocean and Poui Magazine (University of the West Indies, Cave Hill). She was awarded 1st prize in the 2014 Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Awards (Barbados) for a poetry collection entitled A Difficult Age. Carlyon can be reached at blackberryjuice@hotmail.com.