Dad’s house stands again, four years
after being demolished. I walk in.
He lies in bed, licks his rolling paper,
and when I ask Where have you been?
We buried you, he says I know,

I know. I lean into his smoke, tell him
I went back to Jamaica. I met your brothers,
losing  you made me need them. He says
something I don’t hear. What?  Moving lips,
no sound. I shake my head. He frowns.

Disappears. I wake in the hotel room,
heart drumming. I get up slowly, the floor
is wet. I wade into the bathroom,
my father stands by the sink, all the taps
running. He laughs and takes

my hand, squeezes.
His ring digs into my flesh. I open my eyes.
I’m by a river, a shimmering sheet
of green marble. Red ants crawl up
an oak tree’s flaking bark. My hands

are cold mud. I follow the tall grass
by the riverbank, the song. My Orisha,
Oshun in gold bracelets and earrings, scrubs
her yellow dress in the river. I wave, Hey!
She keeps singing. The dress turns the river

gold and there’s my father surfacing.
He holds a white and green drum. I watch him
climb out of the water, drip toward Oshun.
They embrace. My father beats his drum.
With shining hands, she signs: Welcome.

My father beats his drum.


Copyright © 2020 by Raymond Antrobus. Originally published in Poetry (May, 2020). Reprinted with the permission of the poet.