Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘Yes’: a poem by Christine Roseeta Walker


In our uniforms, blue dress and white blouse,
we climbed the school wall
under the poinciana tree,
until we could see inside the station grounds.

I wasn’t sure what we were looking for.
I had imagined we were going
to tease the prisoners again whose long
sorrowful faces stared out from behind their steel bars.

Your black shoes bent at their narrow points
as you gripped the wall.
Even after my hands grew
weak from clinging, you did not let go.

Knees scraping against the exposed concrete,
I rejoined you as our
schoolmates played
a sailor went to sea, sea, sea.

I followed your gaze to the see-through rooms
and saw what had taken
your attention, what had kept
you from our games of handball and skipping rope.

There sitting on the mildewed floor was your mother,
locked behind the irons of the cell.
Her blonde wig matted by her feet.
Her black eyeliner had streaked her painted cheeks.

An hour later, eating free bulgar for lunch,
you emptied your plastic plate
onto mine, got to your feet
and said, what else is an unqualified woman in Negril to do!

We linked arms and passed the stush girls whose fathers
owned hotels. They were drinking
Pepsi and eating buns with cheese.
I asked if you had always known about your mother and you said yes.

This poem originally appeared in The Tangerine Magazine