In the days when I dressed for dinner and long Edwardian evenings we made a fine potage of hyena and sipped daiquiris from conch shells on the veranda. Houseboys brought plates and news of visiting dignitaries, and we swept the bugs out lest we forget how to be civilized. Our gardens overgrew us: how thoroughly we snipped away at their lush aggression! We scripted a more orderly diurn for our wild mahogany home— the hearty breakfast, tea at 5 and ways to keep the termites out. The health of the world was at stake. We brought reading, writing and ciphering, tailored shirts, jackets and knee pants, Parliament and well-constructed shoes. We brought houses at right angles, glass chandeliers, raised beds, paved roads and trained men. We brought the Scientific Method, thick typeset encyclopaedias with coloured plates, coins and banks and factories and clocks and ordained clergy. We brought engraved silverware and we brought guns.
                        In spite of it all, the sea nipped
and snapped at our rocky ankles, and the whitecaps
thundered as high as they wanted to. My lace hemline
soiled and ruined, I lost my diamonds
on the beach somewhere. The garden, of course,
took itself back. When the termites finally digested
all four of my bedposts, I lay down against
the weave of my acacia mat, and, at last, slept.


“I, Colony” won the 2010 Burning Bush Poetry Prize, and was published in the Fall 2010 edition of the online literary journal In Our Own Words. It was also published in For a Better World 2012: Poems and Drawings on Peace and Justice by Greater Cincinnati Artists, Ghosn Publishing, 2012. It may be forthcoming in The Best of the Burning Bush Poetry Prize, Burning Bush Publications, Santa Rosa, CA (publication TBD).