is the author of An Alabaster Flask
(2003) and Winterproof
Her work appears in such journals as Poetry
, Botteghe Oscure Online
, and Measure
, and she has received The New England Prize, the Lyric Memorial Prize, and awards from the The World Order of Narrative and Formalist Poets.
She lives amid the bayous of southern Louisiana.
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New Year’s Eve, and she’s been dropped to trance
Rhythms on a docent fuschia floor,
Drugs which do not alter anymore,
Leading to her last, black-market dance.
Certain once the song is hers, she’ll stumble,
Feeling frailer than craft rags, she has
Music less than opera or jazz—
Jambalaya juke, and bourbon jumble.
No fine Creole taste, no hurricane
Able to enable, calm her, she
Wears a small, cloth bag they call “gris-gris,”
Bones and grave dirt, warding off live pain.
Witness the exclusive voodoo doll.
Haitian dreadlocks whip her stripping pole.
Yards beyond, Saint Joan stands—stated soul
Founded in gold bronze through Charles de Gaulle.
Consciousness, by shot-glass drips, retreats.
Pushover. She will wake to rattling rock
Rada blaring, wake to cropped blond shock
Licking her between a stranger’s sheets.
Unity—like hot Jamaican jerk—
Makes for taut and open jaw lines, but
Hers have reconciled themselves to jut.
Why, the chants of slaves no longer work.
No more are the Loa, good ghosts, warm.
Quarter fixes, though, are cheap to find.
Cutting into blood veins, less than kind,
Speaking to a six-inch, cross-pinned form,
Crouched against a corner of some closet,
Sobbing with her gleaming razor blade,
Djab will find her, mock her, watch her fade:
“Zombie! Not so difficult, now was it?”
Frontier Fay Breaks In the Toy Saddle
Who would say sophisticates never feed sheep?
Never hack a pear tree in half, nor rattle
Snakes nor gophers? Never brand mules or oxen,
Never the cattle?
New frontiers are rarely a pure endeavor.
Burrows grow belowground and grasses high here.
Most require complexity, played with plainness.
Simpletons die here.
Since my days of games as a little lady,
Coffee, tea and bridling have been my staples,
Plastic stallions, stables of small-stall hardwood—
Robert Service? No—but the Brownings, thank you.
They provided gall when I lost the baby,
When the goats digested the finer victuals.
More of them, maybe.
I remember storing our stock in panic
At the turn of century—blind, dumb piling
Done with cunning, bruised by the falling tin cans;
Nearly naked, killing myself to save us
Through a thousand intricate, raw approaches;
Walls of card the whirlwinds would shake to fine dust,
No one so appreciates abstruse breeding
As the brooding, absolute, beaten child.
Who concludes this wilderness lacks finesse? Fie.
Graces are wild.