February 13, 2007

Her face similar;
features cut cruder,
mouth a fish’s lipless suck down
at the corners, to remind me
of how ugly you could have been.

We smudge through one another,
charcoal marks multiply, bind
live amputations; poem written in skin
like a holy tatoo.

Erzulie shakes snakes of water from the sea,
always having time for this sort of thing.
She gleams into me, ripe eyed, skin bulging
with fruit and sun, leans herself soft
against invisible day stars,

dreams me a Voodou Bokò
with Tanbu an’ JuJu in hand

shaking my charm to hex hungry ghosts
who would take your place,
drumming double helix rhythms,

pale at the mercy of
pink, blue, brown Erzulie
who chuckles fatly as I work,
tells me she has hidden you from the Baron
in pieces of all that lives.

I take her cauldron through the city
to the boneyard by the river,
to missing streets in silver fog –

I look for pieces of you in other girls:
a nose, an expression,
peal of laughter severed gently from the throat.
A figure weaves alive in threads of blood
from the squirming cauldron. It is almost you.


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