Leisha Douglas


GRIOT


Goats wail from rocky pastures.
Small white trucks pull themselves up shoestring roads.
Women in wide-brimmed straw hats and sun-faded dresses stroll
under the devouring sun.

Where blue births itself,
the island whispers in Creole while
oblivious tourists in beachwear wander.

They do not hear the incantations,
lullabies for dead children,
the dirges for those lost.

They can’t imagine living on collected rain and fish
until the monthly boat arrived.

In 1670, Breton families partitioned
twelve square miles of ragged hills laden
with cacti, scorpions, and hand-sized spiders.

Language mutates in isolation.
Southsiders do not speak like people from Vitet.
They all speak French in public, reserve the mother tongue for natives.

Though blue and yellow jets land
and cruise ships disgorge their crowds,
the island remains a basket of muttered spells
mingled with constant wind.



As a professional psychotherapist and part-time yoga teacher, Leisha Douglas feels blessed to help others in their deeply intimate, personal explorations. She has worked in a private psychotherapy practice for over twenty years and served as a staff member of Cap Juluca’s Mind Body Spirit Program in Anguilla, British West Indies. From 2001 to 2010, she codirected the Katonah Poetry Series with former Poet Laureate Billy Collins and currently serves as poetry consultant to the series. Her poems have appeared in The Alembic, The Cortland Review, decomP, Forge, Ghoti, Ginbender Poetry Review, Helix, Corium, The Minetta Review, and Sanskrit.

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