Hilda and her children are crammed into our front room.
$8 a month holds her whole life in it.
When her husband showed up blind,
his whole family threw her out.
They had always known her greenish-grey eyes
would bring them down.
Word was he caught her with someone else
and it happened just like that!
All over Trinidad, and no doctor sees anything.
A walking stick becomes an extension on his right hand,
checking out the air close to the ground.
As I gape and wait for him to fall,
he walks ahead with his eyes wide open.
Hilda’s trying to make her way.
Her children are quiet and lap at her heel like water.
They stand close to the one-burner stove,
a contraption that looks more like a Japanese lantern,
and watch her boiling chicken feet.
Her sadness does not allow her to smile,
but I can tell she is not bitter.
She even gives me a plump chicken foot
when I sneak in to see her.
After dadee died,
the most surprising thing of all
is my parents going and renting out
her front room,
just like that!
Zorida Mohammed was born in Trinidad and immigrated to America at age 18. She won the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant for Poetry in 1991-92. Her poems have been published in Folio, Fulcrum # 6 and # 7, Phoebe, The Caribbean Writer, Poem, The Oyez Review, Compass Rose, The Dirty Goat, The Spoon River Review, The Atlanta Review, and The Distillery. She has also been published in The Red Wheelbarrow for the past four years. Zorida is an active member of The Red Wheelbarrow Poets and reads frequently in Bergen County, NJ, and in New York City.