Ten years ago I was cut out from the low belly of my father—
veined skin and lipids, a tangle of black hair and teeth,
as wrinkled as overripe jackfruit flesh; I was severed at the ankles
with a black machete. Slick with dark rum and sea-froth, I made a splash.
They came on boats made of bonito skeleton, dressed in white
down to their feet—Pocomanian women, frenzied maenads of the Caribbean,
Pocomanian women came for me.
They washed me in urine, in the harsh brine of the sea, making sounds
only the heart can feel. Mine leapt like a frog inside of me.
They danced into a fire, whet their tongues like knives.
Wrapping me stiff in white, the women make small incisions in my neck;
sharp incantations of obeah burrowing insects in my flesh.
No bleat but a warm gurgle fills my throat.
I came into this world a host.
My father howls like a beached animal, rolling his grey body in the sand.
He hears Isabel’s red bones knocking our floorboards in the night,
hears her knock-knocking at his skull when he dreams. Scratching at the door,
the dry rattle of Morse code: Let me in. Let me in.
In the dark where the lost spirits pound our plates to chalk,
in the split fibula where the marrow must rust—
the soft drum in my ear still sounds a familiar mischief;
Mother jangling the ribcage: I am here.