by Juanita Rey
I’d sit on the ledge with my Aunt Ana,
dipping our toes in sea water,
letting the minnows nibble our toes
I was seven years old
and she seemed not much older
though she was my mother’s youngest sister –
the wild one so they said
with her slinky dresses,
high heeled shoes,
and underthings drying on the outside line
that, folks whispered,
no respectable woman
would ever think of wearing.
She loved that Caribbean wind
blowing her hair loose
and the tang of fish and salt.
She’d lead me barefoot
along the sand,
into the cascading waves
that rolled up to her deep brown thighs.
She loved to pick up stones and shells,
rub them for good luck.
And she’d investigate the rotted planks
that drifted shoreward.
To her, there was something of pride’s folly
in the wreckage of old ships.
though she didn’t miss a chance to sway her hips
should some local hunk stride by.
I have just returned briefly for her burial.
I heard the men talk
when they didn’t know I could hear.
And the women too
when they invited me into their circle.
Lascivious or sententious – just different shades of lies.
I preferred the ocean’s epilogo –
unknowable but cool.
* * * * *
Juanita Rey is a Dominican poet who has been in this country five years. Her work has been published in Pennsylvania English, Opiate Journal, Petrichor Machine and Porter Gulch Review.