Saturday, January 8, 2011


That’s how he saw it all. Through Mama Ju-Ju’s spell.
The door slammed shut, flew open, blown off its hinges,
he walked through, there she stood her arms outspread
but only one part of her body at a time
when he reached her touch which was no touch only haze
in the air mixing with what the dead call moira,
Daddy Fate is what he used to hear them call it
and here he was and was that her father
and how did I get here and how long could I stay
like this a body gazing upon her body

Mama Ju-Ju’s door closed of its own volition,
a common slab of oak slammed shut so it would stay
closed between this world and the next: he could read up
on it all, Mama Ju-Ju grinned, her black skin gold
under rain brightening the bright sky coming down
washing mud over the coffins you can’t bury
where fish thrive, all manifestations of the gilled
colonies sent by the Master to feed his flock
in such times as these when the ju-ju can’t get to
you through any door or window but hurricane

can send you back for a little peace for a time
after the pelting and buffeting and embers
gathering above the earth to keep the fire dry
–that’s when Mama Ju-Ju doubled over in pain
from laughter, her tears misting in the windy rain.
And he gathered the flowers in his father’s name
wet as they were soggy from storm tall heads drooping
and cradled them as his feet took him home
where nobody followed nobody smelled fragrance
such as hers he could not keep forever but so

what if the ju-ju wore off and you were alone
until the end and no child to take up your name
no love to spin like flax into gold no pleasure
silvery at dawn as though that were what the world
held out to its two-legged scourge who won’t listen
when told over and over what they are seeing
and so levees crumble so the lake can pour through
one way the great river taking care of what’s left:
Hello, good morning and hello, good afternoon
and hello, good evening welcome to our city

(8 January 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

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