The Subaltern Dreams of Big

by Kei Miller 

                                 After brutally criticizing the then Government’s plan to build a new highway which would have profoundly upended the life of her community, a Trinidadian woman stood firm in her critique saying, ‘Me eh fraid; I saying it in Big!’

Oh to say a thing in big – in monument,
in syllables more solid than statues;

             to say a thing not in drizzle or rain
but hurricane, in swell and surge,

the centre always still

but outside bands of wind lift
galvanized rooves like a sudden choir

giving back to the frenzied preacher,
his last words; oh,

to say a thing in drum, in what rumbles
across mountains and through canefields,

that trembles the wattled walls
of Quashie’s shack:  behold,

the day of the watchman
is coming; oh

to say a thing in obeah, in the broken
necks of white yard fowls, in the poured blood

of goats, in Sycorax, original
modder-woman walking cross the crest of hills,

pulling the moon till the night sea bubbles
up like a cauldron; oh

to say a thing plain, without if I may
             or should it please the court.
             or with all due respect;

to convene again, our parliaments,
to wear again, our crowns,

to recognize inside us what is dust
and bone and world and star; oh

to gather from our smallness,
that which is large – 



Poem copyright 2023 by Kei Miller. All rights reserved.

See two more poems from Kei Miller debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle: A Mathematical Problem I Have Been Unable To Solve,”  and  “The Dead

Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Writing Prompt

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