She welcomed him to her bedroom. She was
with him as she was last night, this morning,
mouths and limbs lacing their love together.
She was younger than Ira, but older
than Juan. By now Juan was no longer young
but he was old to himself in mirrors
only. Her body loved his like a girl’s
her boy's. They did what grown men called fucking
and women, making love. Churning butter . . .
his grandmother called it, birthed nine children,
her husband gone from home but here enough,
Juan’s grandfather away so long between times
he sent for his sons and they were happy
being with him. Juan’s father and brothers
never understood why they could not love
when not in bed. And there were three daughters
one of whom survived, unhappily so.
When that man Juan never met went away
and stayed, his body was killed, his soul saved . . .
Times were always so hard they quit one school
for the other when the work migrated
across the river and back. With him dead,
the boys quit school forever. Like their dad
they cropped shares for their mother, the widow,
then left Oklahoma for Arkansas
to work in the coal mines until cotton
was ready. Their mother’s long life made up
for his brief days, her nights were always long . . .
Adore did not know her. Juan knew her well.
She told him she was his second mother,
for he was with her, his mother elsewhere.
Adore could have been his mother. He knew
what he was doing. She knew more than he.
And she asked him what he was feeling now
that he was both horse and rider, loa
and host, newly endowed with the knowledge
she was sworn to keep from him until now,
Erzulie red faced, eyes swollen, ravaged
by passions unrequited in the rooms
she was called to visit, but here she smiled
and left by the front door. Who could see her?
she was more mother and lover than they,
she knew all that issued from her dark womb,
she knew the thrust of hot love in her cunt,
she knew the way, the way knew her, she went
nowhere humans would go looking for her,
this was her city, the islands were her
cradle, she was nowhere but everywhere.
Adore slept on her back. Juan put one hand
on one breast. As she slept her nipple rose
and his cock grew until she had to wake
to give him the warmth he needed to sleep.
(26 February 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander