My grandmother made filling from nutmeg nibs.
Sometimes I gargled rum to numb the ache.
When there was no toothpaste, I brushed with salt.
For years, I chewed on the left or swallowed hard
foods whole. The day I had the tooth pulled,
I visited my father, who stuffed ice cubes between
my teeth. My sister fetched painkillers in the rain.
With him, everything was pain. Six years before,
when I first searched for him, I had forgotten his face.
On the beach where he worked, I called a stranger,
dad. Ashamed, I spat my surname into the sea—
even now, whenever I hear it, a part of me drowns.
Juleus Ghunta is a Jamaican poet and recipient of a Chevening Scholarship. He is pursuing a Peace Studies MA at the University of Bradford. His picture book, Tata and the Big Bad Bull, is forthcoming from CaribbeanReads in…
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