there are no
shells are fragile
crack and bleed
the whites are
the yolks come oozing out
humpty dumpty’s wall
danced since years in Congo Square
white skin flash
nothing to wear
high throat conjure cry
under cobble stones
cowries twisted round my waist
fed from marrow in my bones
Who colored the moon bloody and bald?
Why does she drip gouts of gore?
What haints scratched through the blue porch ceiling?
Where be hats of fog crossin’ hellegat* passage?
Comes walkin’ Igbo doctor with an asafoetida bag?
Is it Obeah woman or hoodoo man?
Or a black cat who gave her bone?
Or a conjure hand with no reflection?
like a bloodshot eye
she mounts the watch
drinkin’ tea brewed from High John’s root
blowin’ tobacco down a spineless back
her crimson bootleg ‘shine
*Vernacular is hellgate, from this Dutch word meaning either “hell’s
hole” or “bright gate/passage”, indicating a narrow river (esp.
the East River in NY)