Demerara Sugar

By Fred D’Aguiar

In neat sachets where each grain
Flows with crystal clarity in a slalom
Of Swiss blinds ready for my tongue
Sugar cut by hand-swinging cutlass
With half an eye kept on any snake
Wrapping its way around cane fields
Cane pressed for its last ounce of sap
Boiled down to molasses that is cane
Marrow if cane were bones broken
From fields for a bone feast
Demerara whose east coast raised me
From a mere stalk to stand straight
To stand tall no matter what current
Help me find your grain your flow
And Demerara sweeten me
So my art keeps your river’s caveat
Your sense of cane fields bathed in sweat


The Caribbean Review of Books, May 2009

Fred D’Aguiar, poet, novelist, and playwright, was born in London of Guyanese parents and raised in Guyana. His most recent book is Continental Shelf (2009), a collection of poems. He teaches at Virginia Tech in the United States.