The Basket-Seller: A View of Nassau

The woman's old:
She's swallowed galleons
whole, and sucked down cannonballs
with treasure gold. Beyond those lips
ropes thick as thighs were flicked apart
by busy fish that fizzed
and kissed cold mariners
until the nibbled bones danced.

Where frigates cracked
upon long shoals of molars
minor vestiges of reef
remain. One crusty cuspid's left
- a twisted pirate.
The woman tries to hide it
with a knotted hand.
Astoundingly, her cocoa palm

curls daintily as sea-fans:
the lacework
of mermaids. Yes, once
there was a grotto
lit quite irresistibly
by pearls.
Yes, there was once
a laughing girl.

1997, 2011 Katherine Anne Harris. All Rights Reserved.