Papa Damballah

Fresh from the market, my husband’s hands
full of eggs and bread, brown as tufted hair;
one egg he places on my lips, cracks against
my teeth.

Rise in you like singing, child, the rattle
of your spine against my mouth.

A snake coiling in the hollow of my throat
eagerly laps the spilling gold; the hollow
of my throat, a golden cup.  My husband
mouths my name.

Past the crèche, your head enshrouded:
a bed of cornmeal, a dish of water.

I am the woman they speak of in closed
tongues; he, snake charmer; a sinuous
arc of scale, major and minor chords
constricting and relaxing.

My shadow and the great gardened 
muscle of your heart, eagerly praying.

[Alicia Cole lives in Lawrenceville, GA, with a photographer, their cat Hatshepsut, and two schools of fish.  She enjoys birdwatching, divination, and listening to the wind.  Her fiction and poetry have appeared in multiple print and online journals, most recently or forthcoming in Paper CrowStar*LineGoblin FruitAbyss & Apex and Aoife’s Kiss.  She keeps ajournal.]

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