Children of Barbados by Charles Haislet


Today, lonely for my children

a cloth bag of small diving gear

brings me back to Barbados

we lived in a duplex named Camelot


the children homeschooled

on the kitchen table

with three inch flags of Barbados

and America stuck in a coffee cup


the Pledge Of Allegiance and

the Barbadian National Anthem

sung at the start of lessons.

We ate flying fish with lime


and swam in a blue sea

long stretches of empty beach

collected coconuts in the surf

and derelict molasses factories


still held the sweet smell

of burnt sugar

their broken piers pushing

into the ocean.


Now the children are gone

a thousand miles and old

childlike no longer

if the world rolls right


perhaps they will return in

April when kindness rules

and we can sit and tell

stories on the ground


and throw a hook into

the heavy lake

Mozambique and Madagascar

must wait


only a few moments in life

really matter

you must know

what you would die for.