She said she didn’t know how old he was
and all he could do was guess her age.
She sat on the rumpled bed, facing him,
said, Look me in the eyes, honey,
I want to see if what I put in you
still is . . . He did, it was, so she said.
Her mama who is not her mother
stopped by, seeing them naked she smiled.
She wanted to share her recipe
for changing the weather in another
upright. What do you mean, upright?
The centenarian pointed.
There was a wind coming in,
sky getting dark, rain sprinkling down
at first, then landing with big drops
on dignity and disgrace alike.
Mama and daughter communed.
He half-expected the hunchback next.
She had said the horses were still inside.
One more reason to come back here
where a body had its own reasons
for doing things like fucking or casting spells
and sometimes both at once, that’s why he loved
this city, its women, its music.
He went out then looked back in and pointed
toward the street. Mama Ju-Ju pointed back
at him, where she had gestured before. Adore
said, You be careful, there’s a storm coming.
He was unaccustomed to the silence
when he opened the knotty door.
He would stroll over to see Young Jackson
and ask how Roberto and Lelli were,
then down to the wharf where Rocky and Belle
were working together now.
Juan had the feeling he was out in the open
to stay, the weather was the least of it.
(14 August 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander