Poet of the Week: Lorelei Williams

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Maroon Woman

Run child past knives whips chains rape. Sold South. Don’t know your real name. Nor birth date. Sound of shame form in your mouth when your love come see how they did you.  So now he gone help you run.  Come Sunday new moon he say.  Lie low now love.  Let your ache sleep.

He lay her down in the secret place.  Rest her ‘tween cat gut and hambone.  Drum skin.  Catch the bloody holler in her neck with his tongue.  His love echo in her bruised bone.  His string strum staccato trip into her rough hewn-blood hued life.  He moan low hum and come into her like new light.  A blues balm to soothe her open wound.  He try to make her new.  After.  She sleep heavy like stone-stunned sinner.  Love.  We got to run he say. Stare at her sweet face all night long.  Four teeth broke from master boot.  He still like her smile.  Don’t taste her dirt.  Keep watch.  Don’t sleep.  When she wake, he gone.  Leave his scent in her undone hair.

Nine days on his call come.  A crow’s cry before sunrise.  She run past big house past master snore sound.  Leave food for him to eat and die.  Run from her child’s pale face.  Don’t look back at what she did.  Run past cane field shoeless one blue dress. Whip ripped flesh still raw from when she birth master baby last month. Run.  North star battle-axe crow cry.  No moon light.  This night good girl.   Run, he say.  Hold out his hand.

She creep through trees with him.  They heed star sign birdcall night sky.   Breathe slow.  Lie low.  Run.  Don’t stop.  Don’t sleep.  North star to new home hard road.  Ten days times ten.  Food gone.  Gut ache.  Mean sun.  Heart ache.  Run.  Rain.  Dog chase.  Run.  His leg snap.  Snag skin on branch rag rope his skin a flag but he never let go her hand.  She breathe for him when he can’t no more.  Fight the urge to die with him.

Fortnight moon rise.  She rise from grief.  Walk.  Crawl.  Four days more times five.  Long gone.  Cross line.  New land.  She kneel and pray.  Sing.  Cry.  Breathe deep.  Deep breath.  New home up North.  Not safe, but home.  Not his.  Her own.  And free.

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