by Dr. Niama Williams
An enslaved African shaman speaks:
dust across mississippi corn fields
heat arching across our brows
mosquitoes big as dog-size
as the hunger dancing before our faces
fury in our bellies
an’ we got to work in midst of all this
under overseer whip and growl.
enough to make you see injun red
lace across missus’ throat
we got one we call missus
named her so myself
we hope her blood stain sheets
of overseer grandson grandson
we want that boy to love her so bad
he lose his mind and marry her
risk his entire fortune
outcast his own family
we a careful, patient people
learned, wise folk
we know how to plan a vengeance.
we an honorable people
we haven’t forgotten how we enslaved nations
fell victim ourselves.
stripped of jujus and fetishes,
leakage of our magic leading to outlaw,
we fell back on common knowledge
forged bonds with generational enemies
when faced with a cruelty we never foresaw.
we know the only cure is love.
so we sow it
make him want the forbidden.
she will explain to herself her passion
always feel a sense of loss about it.
i will not tell you more
loose lips cost us our jujus and fetishes
the rape and ruin of our drums.
we feed her the truth in bits and pieces
slow and unsteady
we don’t want her stomach to turn at the sight of him
we want our juju to work.
for at the dawn of the next millennium
we want her to choose him willingly
to side with her offspring
to not look back
but with a calculated nod of the head
touch of the tip of the finger
seal his fate permanently to her own
ensure what we now insist on having:
this, never again.
Copyright 2008 Dr. Niama Williams
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