REMEMBERING YOU by Alexah Tomey-Alleyne

For you:

1 big smile 
1 accent that sounds like 3 little birds singing, by my doorstep, singing sweet songs
1 drop of sweetness that smells like vanilla 
1 heart filled with enough love to drown an ocean 
1 set of arms open and accepting 

For us: 

A generous helping of ‘welcome home’ 
A big ol’ bunch of bananas 
A splash of ‘we are family’ 
A sprinkle of memories that you’ll never forget 
A thinly sliced cucumber (pat dried and add things that make it sweet but tangy.) 

For him: 

Mothers love 
Accepting you as you are 
My door is always open for you 
Never giving up on you 
I’ll always be with you 


This recipe is something everyone needs, 
Preheat the oven until it’s not too hot but not too cold,
Real soul food. 
Remove seeds with a spoon or melon baller.
Lime juice, 
All purpose seasoning,
Keep checking,
Were going to add some Mothers Love, 
Take a bowl as big as 1 set of arms open and accepting, it might not turn out as Planned on the first attempt..
Next, mix it real real good. 

This recipe is something everyone needs, 
Add a splash of ‘we are family’,
Slice the cucumbers lengthways
Drain well.
Preheat the oven to around 200 degrees.
If that’s so, somewhere in the middle will do. 
Wash the chicken anyway you want, mix that real good until yu arm stiff up.
Never giving up on you and accepting you as you are into the bowl. 
Serve with a big ol’ bunch of bananas, toss well.
Then dry off and place in a large oven tray. 
There are no measurements to this, serve with rice and salad or any way you want really. 

This recipe is something everyone needs, 
Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters, and garlic powder.
Cook until its cooked init,
Still mixing..
Trow in 1 accent that sound like three little birds, each by my doorstep, singing sweet song
To make it mix a bit easier, slice each half into 1/2 inch slices.
When cooked, we need 1 drop of sweetness that smells like vanilla to sweeten up di ting.
Maybe go easy on the garlic powder (especially if you’re a vampire). 
Add some hot water to the tray to make the gravy. 

This recipe is something everyone needs, 
To the oven tray add black or white pepper, 
Perseverance is key here. 
A generous helping of ‘welcome home,’ place on the windowsill to cool by an open window. 
Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt, and a thinly sliced cucumber (pat dried, add things that make it sweet but tangy before serving).
Toss well.
Sprinkle until it smells right.
Just keep trying until your happy with the outcome. 
In any order throw in my door is always open for you and some I’ll always be with you.

This recipe is something everyone needs, 
1 big smile,
This concoction by itself is good enough you’ll scream for more… 
Place the cucumbers in a serving bowl and add the chilies. 
Set in the fridge for a few hours preferably the night before as that’s always the best. 
Rub the season into the chicken to get it all seasoned, everyone loves something sweet, especially a sweet song. 
Once mixed to a consistency which you feel is correct, 
1 heart filled with enough love to drown an ocean and let it sit until it has settled in the mixture.

This recipe is something everyone needs, 
pour into a tin (any tin will do), 
When cooled, 
Toss gently and let sit for 30 minutes, and garlic.
Place into the oven tray with the chicken, also place these into the oven tray. 
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
Add a sprinkle of memories that you’ll never forget on top. 
Peel and chop the onions into medium slices (length ways),
Topping up with small amounts of water when cooking to make the gravy.
Place the baking tray on the middle shelf in the oven and cook for approx. 50min. 

Need by Leah Francis

“Knead, Knead, Knead”

The thyme to bind you back to me

Family glue you 

I am she; she is me

Need connection, need comfort, need home.

Smooth skin fingers, soft hands, rings off, knead the cakes 

Journeys begin.

Red Pea remnants on rice grains

Like sand on St Kitts land


You are back there on Dieppe Bay

Surrounded by just the right amount of salt, seashores 

The scorching sun, ovens burning heat hallucinating dreams of tasty golden packages. 



“Knead girl”

Old whips, when whipped then hit trickled down into your kin folk

Church twice a day to rid you of your real history

Secrets kept under living room carpets and fire on full blast

“Don’t go near there!”


Hot oil bubbles and we sing sweet songs anticipating fluffy inside crispy outside morsels

Gold dust, melt in mouth

Steam smells comfort, thyme passes and after dinner pamper sessions for cracked soles 

Souls from journeys past Long Journeys


The emollient to heal

Tender care

Pillows for your green-eyed witch dreams 

Transporting you back there.

To a time when we lived off the land

Mangoes so ripe and sweet falling straight onto sand 

Sugarcane too in vast quantities

Guava, Jackfruit and banana trees

Abundant, full of breadfruit and books

Teaching yourself to read

A seed that was planted from young

Music, too, a freedom song

Cultivated now and passed down through the lineage

Orator’s, actors, and singers on stage

Reflecting the nourishment, you gave us all along

Now you’ve gone it all feels wrong

Need you here to make things right

Hold you close kiss on the cheek goodnight

Though I know you’re really here the invisible glue 

That binds you to me, me to you

I see you in visions on Sundays

Remembering the heat and soft hands 

And raspy voice telling me “Knead girl”

Matriarch by Sharon Watson 

The Smell perfumed the house for days

Anticipation house cleaning

City blackouts power cut

House lit by candlelight

Always two suitcases, the grip

The smell, the perfumed scent of food

Foil and black plastic bags

Fried fish, veg, rooted veg, seasonings, herbs, bush teas, peppers. 

Unfamiliar shapes and colours and textures.

Spiced, rum, white rum bottles and bottles of rum 

Every room of the house, distinctive and foreign

She’s coming home, any day now, the waiting was like having a gifted birthday 

We weren’t talking about the family in Jamaica, but the condition of the home mum was coming back to! Have we polished the ornaments? Swept the floors? Cleaned the bathroom? Changed the bedding? Aired the house from top to bottom? Prepared her dinner?

Getting the home ready was everybody’s job and believe me it was a job!

Stories of my family arrived from overseas before ever meeting my siblings, before ever speaking to them or even knowing what they looked like.

“You have a sister whose nickname was battery dolly, a brother whose ate his dumplings from the Dutch pot lid, Grandma would be sure that’s what he had, because it’s what he wanted.”

The stories of my family were fascinating and stretched my imagination, knowing one day I would be in that space hearing the sounds and the music, smelling the air, feeling the heat of Jamaica. 

Mum cases would be placed in the center of the living room and with all honesty we weren’t really interested in listening to the stories mum wanted to share, we were desperate to see what was being sent for us from Jamaica. 

The click of the grips released the scent of the food the drink the herbs the seasonings. The smell perfumed the house, the whole house. Interesting, as all the food and fruits and drink were wrapped in paper or black plastic bags. We knew grandma had taken time to package these items for us. 

Some of these items we had never seen or heard of before, some we remember – didn’t like the taste back then so heaven knows why it come back again. Our western pallets trying to associate itself with the taste of home – mums home, the home where granny spent time and thoughts, to consider her English grandchildren’s remote education. She picked bush teas, coffee, orange, nectarine, ginip,  herbs nuff nuff herbs. For our tasteful pleasures and as medicine!

A week has passed since mum got back seems ages, but it wasn’t really. We set about our usual routine getting back to some normality. 

“So, what did you do over the weekend?” The teacher asked. I’m reminded of the journey mum made from foreign. The smell of the fruit, the herbs, the rum which still perfumed the house from the attic room to the kitchen, through the hallways and bedrooms. It was a comforting smell, our version of exotic in a British location. It was happiness and joy; it was yearning and unfamiliar. It was the smell that pushed our imagination to a place of longing, a place of wanting, a place of acceptance, a place where people worked under the sun and slept under the moon. 

Hot chocolate. First thing Saturday morning we had the real thing, grated from coco pods with nutmeg, vanilla, full fat milk, condensed milk, a likkle sugar, a likkle salt. It wasn’t Cadburys that’s for sure. To tell the story again was real and surreal at the same time, who would believe we were sent gifts wrapped in newspaper and black bags. Which of my English school friends would understand the smell that entered our house a week ago, that we would be eating fruits and root vegetables which always tasted so much better from home according to my mum. We English babies with English pallets were none the wiser. 

I have one image, one image of grandma, sitting on her veranda under her corrugated roof and blue painted walls ordering my cousins to pick fruit bring come. To be sure the fruit pick good, as it was going on a journey, a long journey to England. I imagine grandma checking and rechecking under the candlelight, that the best of the best of the items picked were good enough for her grandchildren.

It was probably 2 years that passed before we had the house perfumed from the suitcases that came from foreign. We knew one day we would eat from the land, smell the fruits, fry fish and serve our grandma the way she served us. The images etched in my mind would one day become real, that grandma will be real, that we can carry come whatever she needed. Looking forward to meeting you, Elvita Thompson.