No relations but in things
My father and the economists in repetition
The mahogany tree and its crown

Large shining leaves
Rustling between the rivers
My daughter emerges on the year

Independence is counted
Her power now also commodity
Crown takes crown

Settlement becomes colony
Then crown colony then country
This, the manifestation of matter and idea

Content itself giving birth
To the form already latent
Treaties, trees, children

Appearances, like change
I am trying to see this right side up
The land, the people

Clearing the land for the extraction of wealth
A chair comes into being
Devoid of social history

We see only a chair
My lord, they pleaded
My love, I whisper


Copyright © 2023 by Vanessa Jimenez Gabb. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 31, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This poem is from a manuscript-in-progress that explores how new motherhood has inspired me to examine more deeply my fatherland, Belize, formerly British Honduras, the only former British colony in Central America and the last British colony to gain its independence in 1981. As a daughter of a Belizean political economist, I continue to be interested in how economic theories and policies underpin poetic inheritance, hoping to help place Belize and its unique legacy more squarely in the Caribbean postcolonial discourse. And, of course, I hope to better understand my own self.”
—Vanessa Jimenez Gabb