A few weeks ago, people took to howling like wolves at 8pm each night. If I listened carefully, I could hear my neighbors from a few streets away. A couple of nights, I ventured with my family onto our snowy balcony and howled back. This is Colorado, but my frame of reference is Kingston street dogs—the mangy and hungry kind, who have had enough. Back inside, it was quiet. Late night, I kept communion with an old sewing machine table—like the sort my grandmother had in her no-electricity house in the hills of Jamaica; and with the plants on top of it—leaf-of-life (if you cut a leaf it will grow back), rose of Jericho (it can live ten years without water—no lie), ponytail palm (it thrives on neglect); and under it, an old calabash bowl (cut from a tree on my father’s farm); book-friends (so many to name) on the shelves of the east wall; to the north, a painting of a girl cleaning fish with a golden knife; and to the south, a natty dread carved in cedar (his mouth wont to twitch); and next to him, a tall-necked sistah, also in cedar, and with eyes that warn; then at the doorway, a pendent hanging from a black string, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego engraved in mahogany by a Rastaman in St. Elizabeth—for protection from the fiery furnace, he said.
I write this now, at the end of spring. Rebel weeds fill the field across the way; someone has decided to mow them down. So much trouble in the world, Bob sings. We wish to howl again. If I stand on my little balcony and look far-far to the west, I can see the mountains—those ones that never move.
- Marcia Douglas 5-31-2020