Of Contracts with Gods / marion bethel

bonfire of zemis trinity of ashes
Atabeyra Jocahu Guaca
gods of stone and spirit live on
in the maritime god of Toussaint and Dessalines
failed fetishes drown ….. and surface again
in the mercantile god of adventurers
…..down down to the abyss
Agwe’s servants descend a silent seawall
…..to the Island below the Sea
sharkfins in ceremonial row cut soundless
…..a seamless surface of Habacoa seas
silent pallbearers to paradise in Guinee
in the maritime god of Tante LaLa and Ti Fi
failed fetishes rise again ….. and prosper
in the lucre of god’s soldiers of fortune

“Of Contracts with Gods” is taken from Bethel’s latest book, Bougainvillea Ringplay
(Peepal Tree, 2009).


Bahamian Marion Bethel read law at Cambridge, and is the recipient of numerous awards for writing, including a James Michener Fellowship and the Casa de las Americas Prize. In 2009, Guanahani, My Love (House of Nehesi) and Bougainvillea Ringplay (Peepal Tree Press) appeared. She is now working on a third manuscript of poetry and a novel.

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