Invented a story, invented a girl
for you to talk to. Call me an easy animal
this dark season, a door for you to walk through.
How my deer carcass slits to limbs
in your refrigerator, each pretty word a cigarette
you will put out in your skin.
Here each fault consumes the hoarding
of numb silences, the way you give voice
to nothing. Your hands still folded,
the phone unringing. A nothing hiss.
Nevertheless. I knell and touch mouths
with the mostly dead,
my self entombing itself.
The woman splits indefinitely.
My father spins his web of sensimilia
in the country, mother smiling
green in the ear of his god,
both teenagers budding new selves
in the cane fields. His voice is her voice,
their unlived life, my siblings and I
one in four chance to leave the slums
of this boyhood. The answer of his father
still unknown to him. But daughter
is always a sightless gamble. At night he dreams
of hands closing tight about her throat,
this poisoned root we must cast out.
My mother says nothing
and looks away, a worse
kind of violence.
Her good hair, her skin,
her bright hibiscus.
Her shoe thrown hard in solidarity.
I was born with one ankle
dangled in the sea, body grasping
for another horizon.
Hungry infant reaching for the salty night,
I ate leaves of scripture left open
to avert the spirits of the dead—
but already I was unruly and invited them in,
imbibed them in my fevered dreaming
until my skin was no longer my skin.
Now years later, I am blue October
caught in this southern gloom, thinking of
the man I have just welcomed inside me,
an eager creature still answering
the call of her body. Already he is
a spectre of some future patricide,
my long face in the mirror nothing
but the yellow smear of shame,
and he the same Western sky
I have been chasing, my country
nothing but a satisfied lover
now with no reason left to call,
the rain this morning nothing
but my father’s spit at my back.