I was born beneath Cuba, across the waters of the West Indies on an island that lives and breathes Bob Marley. It was 1967. While papa, my grandfather, was mending the house he’d built with his bare hands, civil rights marches were happening in “foreign,” the place the locals called America. As King, Jr lay dead, murdered by the mindset of the majority, I learned to walk on hot stones. The light of a man went out, yet I was oblivious to this. I lived in a place where electricity and running water and indoor plumbing didn’t reach us. The outhouse was dark at night. But my uncle would take me there when I was too afraid to brave the dark alone. At other times the “chimy” as my grandmother called the chamber pot, would be pulled out from under the bed, squatted over, then slid back filled with yellow waste that reminded us of our simple life. I was small and thin and remember the mangoes and jackfruit and star apples and ackee and gineps and the flowers I used to make jewelry; little necklaces and bracelets, bright, red and beautiful. I want to remember the name of that flower but time sends memories away to places we can’t find.

Flower of Jamaica – Dwarf Poinciana – Photographer Unknown