Catherine Cowie



Surrounded by so much sand,
away from the steady work
mixing clay and laying brick,
away from the stalks of grain
pounded into bread,
the Israelites trembled.
Of course, they melted a god,
something they could touch,
look in the eye.
Of course, they got shit-drunk,
fucked as much as they could.


When you’re laid off, for the third time,
you return to the old man who planted
flowers down your spine.
You remember your Sunday drives to the beach—
looking out at the water, you ate mangoes.
He laughed at how you always wore white,
stained your blouses.
Your wife, you cautioned when his touch
grew fervent.
And when that ended,
you promised you would never go back.
But a phone call and you are in
a hotel dining room.
We’re only going to eat, you say,
after you both order smoked pork tongue.


Catherine Esther Cowie is a 2017 Callaloo Writing Workshop graduate. Her work has appeared in Moko Magazine: Caribbean Arts and Letters and Forklift Ohio. Currently, she resides in Kenosha, Wisconsin.