by Patricia Smith
Behind the flash, he seems somewhat possessed
by what my stare can do. He’s not exactly sure
if I’m a child—a gangly immature
rapscallion in a disarming dress—
or if my luminescent gaze suggests
perfumed acknowledgment. I can endure
his ill-considered hope, because the cure
is history. My murdered mother rests
in me, aflame and flailing still, her grand
and muscled body hitched to labor. Saint
Domingue’s copper slap still simmers, sears
her thirsty skin, then mine—bodacious and
bedamned, she thrashes through me. Her restraint
is why I smolder. Murderous. Austere.
Poem copyright 2017 by Patricia Smith. Photograph courtesy Smith-DeSilva collection.
All rights reserved.