Maggoty, Jamaica, 1968

A partially burnt mosquito destroyer
sits on a table top, a band of orange light
creeps closer to its spiral center.

A man and a woman, merely children,
eat supper in their concrete vault of a flat
above a Chinese grocery – plantain,

akee, salt fish, rice, and beer. The toilet
raised a step above the kitchen floor,
a lizard on the wall – memory selects

its own details, prefers a quiet scene
to the spark of talk, exotic décor
to havoc within, the students’ benign

adventure to their anxiety about
not fitting in. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe
the destroyer’s spiral of orange light

is not a detail, but the core, an omen
of love and death, the mind’s mystery
message, an invitation to interpret.