"stay in the compound,
mind the babies,"
but the babies grew while you were out in the cane fields.
Now they roll those laughing bones
and speak the local dialect,
distrusting the gendarmes like natives.
"What about the girls?' you might ask,
if you were ever here to ask.
That is the girls.
In the afternoon, they walk barefoot and hatless,
with a pack of stray dogs trailing behind,
hoping for a bit of biscuit.
The dogs are brown,
the girls are brown,
and neither have ever been to England.
Reach for me in the night; pretend I'm a receipt.
Drop your suspenders off your shoulders like a coquette,
while I close my eyes, thinking of the fox hunt
with me as the fox,
but this time
with a cane knife beneath my petticoats.
I've been in the trash again, yes I have.
Better strangle me now.
Howl, man-hound, though you never had the scent.
The household budget allowed for two Arabians.
Our oldest and I go riding,
but not side saddle.
We are as wild as Indians, painted like Zulus,
shrieking in island French,
our cheeks rouged with fresh chicken blood we get from the cook.
You complain about the fare every night,
addressing us as if we were the candlesticks,
blustering about everything being too spicy.
The girls and I,
we doctor our dinner until we hallucinate,
just to be able to bear it.
Still, how bold you are, how genuinely manly,
coming here and conducting a successful business
in this sweltering mosquito hell
where the women cast spells
and the men are weak and lazy.
How amazing what you manage to accomplish
wearing a sturdy wool suit
in this place where you couldn't claim to truly know
anyone at all.
for Fireblossom Friday, featuring the art of W.T. Benda.
"Close your eyes and think of England." Queen Victoria's famous advice to English ladies being depended upon to produce more population for the Empire.