I'm traveling back home to you but it's an omen: my road map's creased and torn along dead straight lines. The hill and gully ride is over now and I'm flat out on the dead straight highway with a toll. Not a glimmer of the coastline as I try to make it home to you through a forest of hotels as thick as thieves. For the sea, the coves and beaches once seen through seaside shacks and palm trees have been sold. And the rest of us are herded to the verge by this new highway while over there our beauty is extolled, bottled and sold. And gated. In this new paradise the only palms are greased. And somebody's beach umbrella has replaced the shade tree we once sat under and the towns and settlements molder as they are bypassed. I can no longer witness on this highway with a toll that makes us seem as modern as elsewhere. For elsewhere is not where I'm meant to be. And a dead straight highway leaves no scent, no monument to the past, no scenic beauty for the curvature of my eye to take in. And endless empty space is not inviting. But perhaps there's no social meaning to this tirade after all. I'm just feeling lost without a map as I make it home to you and pay the toll. You could see it simply as a love song. To the curving of your cheekbones, to the mountains of your thighs, the hill and gully passion of your eyes, and your hair that is not dead straight but very much otherwise.
From So Much Things To Say: 100 Calabash Poets, edited by Kwame Dawes and Colin Channer. Copyright © 2010 by Natasha Trethewey. Used with permisson of Calabash International Literary Trust and the author.