Rothesay, Isle of Bute, 1975
Honeymooning. And we’re cycling around the island,
young and in love. High summer, and the flowers
all out giddy in the brief sun. They know a South American
is in town! We’d sailed from Dunoon, me skinny
in my white trouser suit and I’m breathing in the new air,
Part of me is searching for a face in the crowd,
a great-grandfather who left, l890 or so,
sailed across an ocean; his son would marry
a Madeira woman, who would produce my mother
and here I am a Guyana child.
Names are a big thing when you leave.
Guyana has its share of Scottish names,
Plantation Alness where he over-seered.
My father now, a black man on a plantation, his name: Harris.
And I wonder why I didn’t go to Harris, perhaps
my marriage would have lasted. But then again
I wouldn’t have seen the Isle of Bute
and ate ice-cream at Zavaroni’s or be the me that I am today.
Rothesay, on my return I’ll walk you slowly, get to know your name.
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