Aubade for Marie Laveau

by Jeffrey Haynes

It is something she brought with her,
the rill of bayou rolling in her bones,
pond water of Pontchartrain seeping
into your sheets, a tea leaf incantation
creeping over your canopy bed.

You can see it in the casket-slow
swing of her hips, the black magic
of her body. She stitched a spell in your
sleep, and when she comes at night,
her gown will be drawn longer than the dark,

her kisses will be clove smoke, a mouth
smoldering as she pulls a prayer
from your palms. As the candlelight
begins to list the calligraphy of her curves,

she threads a hex through the heat, blue fire
flaring from her fingertips, and you learn
to love the French Quarter crook of her smile,
a dead language lost on her lips,
the blood-wet moon wild in her eye.

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Jeffrey Haynes is an American poet. His work has appeared in Glassworks, Midwest Literary Magazine, and Grassroots. He is the second prize winner of the 2011 Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest, and an honorable mention in the Academy of American Poets Undergraduate Prize at Southern Illinois University.