Man From Trinidad

By Olivia Vande Woude

An Easter egg dispenser stands
next to ceramic horses
singing faint, melancholy tunes
for anyone willing to pay
a dime to hear.

Woman buys
Dented cans of Vienna sausage
stickers of rainbows resting
on clouds
Pastel butter mints wrapped in paper
Errands before a round of cards.

Three men sit outside
near a sign that tells
“beer and batteries can’t be returned.”

Talk about women they thought they loved,
sips of alcohol from vineyards they only dreamed of
St. Michel’s name butchered
the neighbor who was allergic to basil,
gray tape used to patch holes of screens,
sunken leaves in stagnant pools of fall.

Drink coffee from 7 Eleven,
a cup for 99 cents
since it’s a dreary day,
and on dreary days everyone drinks coffee.

“I know men from all over,”
one, about sixty, proclaims
voice humid
and heavy with
an Islander accent.

“I even know a man from Trinidad.”

The others, with olive pits for eyes
whisper unanimously
“Really, Trinidad?”

Toussaint, a man of fifty-five
who works the ticket booth
on South Water Street,
prepares for his night shift
gathering his shirt
with his name embroidered in script,
contoured by a pallid orange.

“Just wait until you retire,” another man encourages him.

“Then every day feels like Sunday.”


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