Trade zoë brigley Now the oceans are mapped, we sail deep into strange continents where people are small and grey, where most never leave the parish of their birth. Up the hill from the port, I rub at the window of the shop with a soaped cloth; Mister Vasquez leans in the doorway, his soft body bulges under his shirt. I stop for a moment to look down the hill at the white sails of ships; the boats come in full of sugar, flax and cotton from countries that no one has visited. I pronounce a name, try to imagine its people: flax and linen from the Baltic, oranges from Greece, Colombian physalis. When the window is clean, I scrub with a broom at the pavement, at the red dust caught in the grouting, the red dust smudged on hands and faces, settled over clothes. He yawns in the doorway and as I polish the black tiles on the shop front, I dream of the marketplace: green and purple vegetables, silver strung beads, blue bottles of elixir and medicinal powders made by a woman living high on a hill above boats sailing in, the port. Brigley: Poetry 121
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jul 17, 2007
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