When I started secondary school in Nevis the advice I was given from my older sisters was to get there early on the first day to find a chair and a desk, or I’d spend the year without one, or the other, or neither. But I think there were enough to go around. Nothing was new and everything was etched and scratched with the initials and doodles of earlier students.
Often our teachers took us outside for our lessons, telling us to “bring our chairs and come”. We gathered underneath the Neem trees in the yard where the cool breeze could reach us. I scratched in the ground the sums I could not manage in my head. I listened to Caribbean history watching dust devils whirl, and I remember most vividly my first anthology of poetry; it was called Talk of the Tamarind.
The poems I recall are “The Song of the Banana Man”, “Dawn is a Fisherman” and the one that haunts me the most; “You Can’t Go Home Again”. I look for that book now and cannot find it, and I look for the poem and still no. It meant so much to me not because of it’s foreboding of longing and loss, but because of one single moment in the poem that described sunlight gleaming on the fuselage of an airplane.
Every time I fly I look out the window and my mind wanders from reminiscence to day dreams, writing my own poetry like I am scratching in the dust underneath the Neem trees. Airplane windows are better than school.