Carolyn Gregory


Queen Conch

High-spired shell turning pink
and iridescent along the sea,
the Queen Conch’s fluted edge
shows water marking her rim,
the ocean echoing within
her siphonal canal,
watching and waiting till
the waves roll in.

Her meat feeds many
in ceviches and curries
made spicy in Grenada and Haiti,
served with onions and lime juice,
sometimes habaneros for the new year.

Rare pink pearls grow
among the white, brown and orange ones
that divers find when going deep for food.
These become shiny cameos
for ladies of distinction.

Sometimes marking gravestones
and used for pens and shell money,
the conch is most noble of all
when carved out as a trumpet
blown by fishermen
to announce to all
that fish is ready for sale,

yelling out at the Jouvert Jump
when Diab Diab blow
near ports at dawn
announcing the beginning of Carnival
and end of the reign of evil spirits.





Carolyn Gregory’s poems have been published in American Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Off the Coast, Cutthroat, Seattle Review, Big River Review, and the Tower Journal. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award. Her first and second books, OPEN LETTERS (2009) and FACING THE MUSIC (2015), were published in Florida.