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Spirit is Collaborative

II

I want a woman to oil and bind my hair

in the place where your fingers turn blue

to subliminally converse with grace paying

attention to tucking the ends in tight enough so they don’t come undone

in the night loose enough so my head doesn’t hurt what

becomes of the world when she is not there

for you does not come when you call cannot be recognized by her nighttime knocking

grammie opens the ground for spider

birdsong bespoke multiverse Oya carried the wind

*

sugar plum fairies rat-a-tat-tat

bullets and magic go just like that

my tongue cloven I see what you do

can’ tell what I know but I know it’s true

cry baby cry ya mummy ine comin’ for you

*

the avarice of sitting with the bones brings nausea insomnia she says one full round of seasons to become proficient in talking to the dead

*

Intestate

Inchoate

Indecipherable

Incommensurate

it’s amazing how quickly one can be poisoned from the insight out

not knowing in other jurisdictions the trees bleed their lives

into plates in a sacred dialysis over

seas this year’s key master woos foreigners for hidden money[1]

*

I am learning to bend time so that I can tell this all to you without stone dirt sand as translator

*

I brought you home against your wishes either way you were going to be buried amongst white folks who didn’t recognize you

*

How do you see bringing back vision to our people our people our people our return of one hundred and ninety six slaves the property of the Estate of late of the Island of New Providence deceased on the thirty first day of July 1834 name sex colour condition free slave ditto ditto also do free do slave do do do do whether African or Creole how disposed of suky pender sue fatima field labourer on plantation Rum Key alexander will billy how are they employed since or if acquired since that date how and where employed since the time of acquisition Elizabeth Tia return time date time time schedule of the Slave Population of the slaves who have ranaway (runaway?) or absconded from the said Islands, of the Slaves who have died and of the slaves who have been Manumitted between and pursuant to An Act of the General Assembly in such case made and provided reparations knowledge about our people as reparations

*

microfiche runs this script across my eyeballs behind lids squeezed tight tight

backlit like old negatives reading the dead nights like this I can smell the ocean

from inside it’s so little she has let me make her dinner I feel benevolent and less lonely she gets food and this is how she loves me

I ride chains and banana boats home

think of wine in the mornings this

is the first time in forty years I’ve seen a silk cotton flower

an almond tree lose its leaves

she says como te ha ido amiga I hear Anita 

mummy’s eldest sister dead at twelve from typhoid after the 1928 hurricane I’m breaking I want to say this isn’t new therefore doesn’t bear repeating

I tell her I’m shapeshifting.

all these come after   I have always been homeless though unaware until she left me

I know if I say this she will disappear for a while leave me alone in bed

in the middle of the afternoon on hot sunny days i won’t have to explain being split open from the inside out while dreaming of getting up to walk ya mummy’s old yard

that auntie that cousin that old friend who

does not call you adjectives in a string

remembers her own days of deep unrelenting sorrow that lived upstairs from Grammie

in the house that is now a liquor store on a thoroughfare

a persona it inherited from long ago inhabitants and their familiars

what do these superwomen embracing the designation think as I story blindigeneity is it a silent recognition those deluded colored folks sure didn’t know what to do with this one see now she burns down her own house madness runs rampant amongst her people our people know how we got here and what happened in between stories that bind us

*

when you ask for all the blocks to be removed remember those are also to the chambers of your own heart for which comes first someone else’s memory of the liquor store house or the nausea that is mine alone movement across water makes me nervous

ambidextrous in life both sides of the road both sides of the spirit

how is one specific in this context

I think oh god please don’t let me fall through

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