Price We Pay for the Sun

These islands
not picture postcards
for unravelling tourist
you know
these islands real
more real
than flesh and blood
past stone
past foam
these islands split

my mother’s breasts
like sleeping volcanoes
who know
what kinda sulph-furious
cancer tricking her
while the wind
constantly whipping
my father’s tears
to salty hurricanes
and my grandmothers croon
sifting sand
water mirroring palm

Poverty is the price
we pay for the sun girl
run come.

Copyright: from The Fat Black Woman’s Poems (Virago, 1984) © Grace Nichols 1984, used by permission of the author c/o Curtis Brown literary agency.

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Grace’s poems are full of the sounds and stories of Guyana, the Caribbean country where she was born and grew up, often drawing on its ...

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