Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Love of Creatures

That didn’t stop me. I was uneasy
but no, no damn ghost you could hear or not
bother, both if you wanted to sleep there,
nothing was going to stop me, Adore
of that abandoned house in the dark woods
before she named herself, she wanted so
to adore and be adored, my saved bird
was from here so why wouldn’t we come back
and back . . . When I was in town my mama
taught me ju-ju. I practiced on the bird.
Then somebody said the bird was a he,
that made him my first man: I loved him
by taking him out of the cage to fly
in mama’s house or in ours, the doors closed,
the windows shut, and the bird seemed to know
what I knew, that freedom was very small,
the size of a house . . . I thought I would try
letting him fly outside someday. Today
was not that day. Nor tomorrow. I was
afraid to let go the creature I loved
more than mama, more than myself, you know
how it is with your women, Juan, you want
their love before anything in your way
stands there like a closed door or window,
their softness, their offering of themselves
and taking all you have, they give back
all of theirs, time after time, until you
must decide or they will, then it all ends
until next time. That bird prepared my heart
for the first and only man I would love
till death, Ira . . . Sure, there are many men
I remember, what was good I respect,
all else I mourn but never too long now,
my life is shorter than it was then, Juan . . .
Now I can never get past the horses
who must love me when they come through the door
and leave their hoofprints in my aging heart,
always returning because I need them
to do the gris-gris and give people joy,
or if not that, give them what they deserve . . .
The bird got to fly one day and came back
to the dark house. I didn’t let him go,
mind you. He flew out a window I left
open . . . not long after, he landed there
and looked in. When I spied him looking in
at me, I knew I had just done ju-ju
my first time, and raised the window to stay.
You have to know when Erzulie comes home.

(6 March 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

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