Papa’s Touch

Papa comes for the the dead and with his juju he puts them down into the Massacre River mud
to wait for the yield, fingers come pushing up through the ground
wading through light, shadow under the Kalfu moon
sprouting nails and pink blossoms in decay, the remembrance of things
too often gone unsaid, untried — where was the will? —
but with his juju he brings you up from the river’s bed and the bloat of bodies
drifted outo onto fields of drowned sugar cane
bodies lashed with hemp to form a raft and keep you up at night
with mashed accordian moans, the gases squeezed out of them through a voice box
and words, the straining of cords and rope in the hurricane winds, waves, a perturbation
in the Champ de Mars, of Duvalier and Ghede-like blasphemy
to spell out, there, if you have the gift, the many ways of dying and of springing to life again

what he’d take from you, what you give back to him
in exchange for peace, martyrdom
chassis of bonemeal and paste with cadaverine pistons banging away into the night
the gloving of your hands raised as if to God, subcutaneous and lardlike striving to exhale

[WC Roberts lives in a mobile home up on Bixby Hill, on land that was once the county dump.  The only window looks out on a ragged scarecrow standing in a field of straw and dressed in his own discarded clothes.  WC dreams of the desert, of finally getting his first television set, and of ravens.  Above all, he writes.]

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