swamp and lagoon,
gift of blood and flesh
Conjurer of souls, quicken this world with
Draw from the leather pouch
toothpeat moss tuft
I am asking to be born
cry from fugitive accomplice I hid
forbidden entrance, seat, or sip:
master’s blanched remain;
mule packing dead seed.
Suddenly, whoops ululations yips chants.
Flambeaux sear the welcoming dark.
Ancestors, intent upon their return,
have come down to
let me in.
Natives whose earths I never cleaved
bury, sow, mine, or build—
’s thresher of pearl millet,
of sweetgrass and wattle,
Cork's grizzled potato
me to the serenade.
I clap and stomp among elders
in midnight’s notch, encircle me.
Musky chests and fragrant bodices mingle.
Beaded moccasins stutter step heel-to-toe
as a stick thumps
Tin whistle chirps. Baling wire
blue, quavery notes on the wind.