Laurie Byro


The woman who answers the door
is Vincentian. She carries bolts of fabric
the colors of wild Caribbean birds.
Her partnerís amused demitasse eyes
search my blues. I imagine them touching
each other. She gathers the sari,
twists it, tells me to bend my head
so she can tie the knot.
It is raining. The drops pelt
like rice against the windows.
I havenít stood naked before women.
The two speak softly, the lift and lilt
of their voices are incantations
like the cooing of the white doves they keep.
Their fingers flutter like moths
while they swathe my breasts with silk.
My mouth waters for the ginger beer
that waits for me after this ritual.
Each pattern is muted, colors swim
into one another, tropical fish
in a lagoon troubling the water
with angel fins.
The room is warm. I beg them
to open a window, to let in the spray
of the afternoon rain.
I am given a glass. The coolness
of delicate hands lingers on my wrist.
I donít bargain. I buy the first I try on,
every stitch sewn by hand.
I watch the wax form patterns of turtles,
moss and turquoise waterfalls
cascading over teal shells.
Dipping feathers of canaries, painting
swirls on a turtleís briny shell,
crushing pieces of ginger for guests.
They lie down together tired.
Later, I spy on them through open
shutters, their fingers hover
like wings. Earn their living, licking
thread to force the needle in and out.

Date of Birth: May 5, 1958
Location: Passaic, New Jersey
Occupation: Former Travel Agent of 25 years, now working in a public library
Publications: The Literary Review, Single Parent Magazine, Cricket Magazine, Real Journal, Chaminade Review, The Red Rock Review, Miller's Pond Magazine, Grass Limb Magazine, The New Jersey Journal of Poets, A Summer's Reading, etc.
Awards: IBPC : 1st place (October, 2002), 2nd place (January, 2003), Honorable Mention (2002); First place in Desert Moon Review's poetry contest

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