On Visit to Hellshire Beach (Jamaica)

Elvis Alves

He cleans fish where water touches steps of stone leading
to dry land and mouth of makeshift shack where man with

stained apron put fish in large pan of oil on top of stove
fueled by burning wood, and let it fry

and serve it with Bammie

The smell of frying fish, or sound of oil jumping in
pan, do not distract from the iterant fishmonger

with scars like roadways on bone thin face, and knife in
dexterous hands shedding scales from fish, scales that

swim in air like dust disturbed by strong wind, some
return to the ocean, others scatter like loosed pearls
at my feet

My father did this to me, the man says, without removing
knife from fish

I said to him, daddy, I am your son. You gonna
kill me?

I imagine he has told the story many times before and shares
it with me because not everyone escapes an attempt of
untimely death


About the Author

Elvis Alves's poetry has appeared in Lowestoft Chronicle, Sojourners Magazine, Huizache, The Caribbean Writer, The Applicant, and other journals. He is the author of Bitter Melon. Elvis lives in Brooklyn, New York.