- The Exile Flies Home to Trout Hall, Jamaica
I fly down and get off a country bus to stand on the bridge, under which I was baptized at nine, trying to interpret the sunny language of the river of voices in the air above the water-hugged rocks and heat-ripened breasts of girls who look up, hurling stony insults my way. So I cross, follow a yellow butterfly into the sunny heart of town, where the colorful wooden shop fronts are littered with the idle voices of half-naked men, leering at school girls in baby blue uniforms, while their wives labor in the surrounding ugli fields of Mr. Sharpe, the good Englishman, who built and named this town of no trouts, Trout Hall, who once a year deploys his planes to spray his neighbors and green alligator-skinned uglies, hybrid child of the orange, grapefruit and tangerine. Everybody knows his slogan: “The Affliction is only skin deep, the beauty is in the eating.” Over the cardboard church even the pigeons sound gospel and I am moved by brooks as brooding as the bible; traffic flows the wrong way and the English missionaries’ sun-blocking peach Baptist church is still empty, except for the cows chewing mouthfuls of shadowy grass and the cricketers crying, “Out” as wheezing, rust-colored cars line up to cross the pocked face of the palm-sheltered bridge. A divine wind blows out the sun as I slip into a crowded bar and down Red Stripes until I forget who I am and announce to God that I am trying to write a fiction greater than God, a poetry to define our world. [End Page 249]
Rayon Lennon has published work in the Connecticut Review and Main Street Rag. He was born in Jamaica and now lives in Connecticut.