Clung to the Side

Ivy Raff

Kizzy Ann's tiled porch clung to the side
of a coral-orange painted
apartment house up on a hill overlooking
Grenada’s nest-like capital.  Yet another hill rose fluffy
and green beyond the school's football field which divided
the hills and I would stare across at the lapis
and chartreuse and winter
white dots tumbling down its side,
each one a house with a unique family inside, each person
living through her private triumphs and sufferings.
Kizzy would motor off to work
at a grantmaking organization
each morning.  She'd leave to combat poverty
to route money to the rebuilding of public
outhouses and wells up in the deeper
northern part of the island, where hills grew up
into mountains.  And I'd log into my own tech
job, unenviously eyeing my colleagues in their sweaters
and wool caps over the laptop screen,
while I kept the front door swung open so sunlight
and the squawks of the parrots in the palms
could filter inside.
I'd eat cornflakes for lunch
and sweep the white glossy floors
each afternoon before Kizzy arrived home.  I took pride
in keeping a clean house for her, for crossing a chore
off her to-do list
when she'd lope through the open door and kick off
her sensible black leather loafers, peel down her stockings
to let her skin breathe free.

We'd drive out of St. George's to taste
nature, never far.  Annandale Falls
was just a twenty minute drive on uphill,
winding roads through Grand Etang National Park.
We'd tell our horror stories
of our mindfuck ex-boyfriends
and -girlfriends as roots
reggae permeated her 4x4.
Then we'd drape our towels around our necks and proceed
down the rooty trail to the base of the falls.
Often there were little clouds of loudly
dressed teenagers up on the concrete platform closest
to the falls, vamping, sticking their bam-bams
out of neon yellow bikinis for photos
to be posted on Instagram for the express purpose of inspiring

Kizzy was braver and hardier than I
She always waded fearlessly out into the cold
murky water until all I could see of her were the backs of her
muscle-dented shoulders, her burgeoning
crown of dreadlocks.
I would sit on a wide flat rock in my cargo shorts, position
my leather sandals
carefully on a no-slip spot, and watch
the guppies play hide and seek around the slabs
of my bare feet, brightened
true white in the shallow waters
curving around the river stones.

Main Location:

St George's, Grenada

Other locations:

Kizzy at Annandale Falls in Grenada

Image by Ivy Raff