I Am Sixteen

Sara Smollett

August 20, 1996

I am sixteen -
from the VI
now at college in New England,
and I like yellow pigs.
What else is there to say?

You ask what the Virgin Islands is
like. Go ahead and ask. I'll tell you:
Think small-town inner-city third-world banana-republic.
Think warm (hot!) weather,
usually beautiful, though hell twice -
which is twice too often. Think beautiful -
scenery (blue ocean, blue roofs), think
trapped and


Think pandemonia.
Months without
electricity, water - longer without phones.
You realize how strange
it has become, how normal it has become.
Buying food every day,
lines to get in,
"No ice. No meat. No produce."
(I think I'll pass on the mashed potato flakes.)
Armed guards. Lines for gas. Traffic. Obstructions.

Think rebuilding your life
along with everyone else
hand in hand.
So many lending hands.

Bright sun, loud music, baggy jeans,
flamboyant flowers,
many hues.
Think the radio, with its "good ting",
with its "Today is a little bit better than

Think tourism, entertainment, weak economy.
Think a strong sense of
home. Think -
you know, I've been pretty pessimistic.

Think wonderful.
Paradise lost. Think -

look, I'm a teenager. It gets boring.