I learned a sports car, red, muscular open roads,
a fit body, a smile, are reliable as a visa,
a path to understand the tears of a woman,
as I understood menstruation or perms:
their business is mostly inexplicable, crazy, and
nothing to do with me. I learned to be able
to say, “You did not come? Not sure why—
I did. Try harder, next time.” As if I was
the reasonable one. I learned I would die
someday, and the fast car will get you there
long before death, and while you wait
in the darkness, you throw a big fat party.
I learned all this from my father before he died.
~ Kwame Dawes
Kwame Dawes (Jamaica) is the author of over thirty books of poetry, prose, drama and criticism and is one of the Caribbean’s leading contemporary writers. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. He is Associate Poetry Editor for Peepal Tree Press in the UK. Among his recent publications are ‘Wheels’ (Peepal, 2011) and ‘Duppy Conqueror: new and selected poems’ (Copper Canyon Press, 2013).