Jamaican Duppy Story: A Sketch

Him, the suitor, a night creature
eyes an orange flaming hot
persistent cancer
garment of chains
who was wicked or dishonest or just male in a past life
a cave or the ghosts of cotton trees
cradle him by day / home
loud clanking
announces a hungry man on the prowl,
nose flaring, seeing red
to start the chase
to conquer and king
wear the scalps of the restless
Granny seh ‘nuh mek rolling calf ketch yuh ah night’
Granny seh ‘drop objects or compliments or smile with him’
Granny seh ‘yuh eva hear of a female villain or hero’
Granny seh ‘a nuh every skin teeth a laugh’

Gervanna Stephens


Gervanna Stephens is a Jamaican poet and proud Slytherin with congenital amputation living in Canada. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The /tƐmz/, Rhythm & Bones, Bone & Ink, Rose Quartz, Okay Donkey, 8 poems, TERSE, WusGood.black, Enclave and Anti-Heroin Chic. She hates public speaking, has two sisters who are way better writers than her and thinks unicorns laugh when we say they aren’t real. Tweets @ gravitystephens

One thought on “Jamaican Duppy Story: A Sketch”

  1. Thank you for this as I am a yardie also and have never seen our speech in a poem published in America. You have given me courage and maybe one day I will write one of my own. As me mumsie seh ‘yuh nuh know the luck of a lousy cat.


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