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Hang it [up]. Fifteen and catechistic.
Sixteen and masochistic. Seventeen
with your fatalism. Eighteen odd sick
years. I’m down on Harlem, who sighs between
my thighs. Soixante neuf, as the French like it.
We like it too. Harlem runs her fingers
through my hair. Somewhere out there the spirit
of the southern witches is singing hers
to life, “twice burned britches.” Aren’t we all, ma’am?
sing for Marie Laveau on St. John’s Eve.
Sing for Harlem’s passions and the red lamb
that rides the night of the ram. Sing and leave.
We’re done. Harlem is all over my face.
Lick me clean, lover, down to the last trace.

* * *


Marie Laveau (1794 – 1881) was a New Orleans priestess of Voodoo, renowned in her time throughout all of Louisiana.

St. John’s Eve is on June 23-24.