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2 poems by Courtney Conrad

Losing Her Beauty

The sun bites our skin,

forcing us to Hellshire Beach;

while dodging potholes,

heads hang from windows, watching

receipts sweeping the streets like

leaves; balloons swaying like cherry

blossoms; tyres kicking bottles

to each other; plastic

bags flapping their wings towards

the coast. Back-flipping

boys and dads coddling

ice coolers, congesting the

shorelines. Parrotfish:

sand machines chowing algae

off coral reefs before its

netting; only to be fried,

steamed and plated. Before

dusk, we pile into our

cars; rain pouring on rooftops

like pelting rice grains

in saucepans. Gullies

gushing styrofoam, debris

and dolls, clogging drains;

rubbish stretching across streets;

entangling with engines.

James Bond Beach in the Wee Hours

Wetsuit grips me before roosters

stroll across my courtyard. Mini

bus transporting rolling eyes, yawns

and snores. Fishermen welcoming me,

scaling snapper and parrot fish, wet

nose mongrels sniffing around my ankles.

Morning breeze and icy water burning

nipples and toes. In the boat, feet slip

into fins; snorkels and goggles snuggling

forehead before diving in. Waves covering

me like duvets; no black lines, walls nor lanes

for guidance; blindly feeling for my teammate's

feet ahead. Choppy water scattering slowpokes

from the pack. Every freestyle stroke hauling the sun.


Courtney Conrad is a Jamaican poet. She is a current member of Malika's Poetry Kitchen. She is an alumna of the Obsidian Foundation Black Poets Retreat and Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Published in Bad Betty Press’ ‘Field Notes on Survival’ anthology, Birmingham Literary Journal, The White Review and The Lumiere Review. Shortlisted for The White Review Poet's Prize 2020 and Poetry London’s Mentoring Scheme and longlisted for the Rebecca Swift Women Poets’ Prize 2020.


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