Book of Nights / danielle boodoo-fortuné

I

Open your book of nights,
unreadable and faded.

The sheets are damp,
your sleep bloated with rain
and the same dream, the one where
you are standing at the window
broken,
picking glass stars
from your wet mouth.
You’ve kept nothing of his
but the unbelieving children
and a faint memory
of shifting bones
But some nights,
the moon’s hard eye holds you
closer, tighter
than your body can bear.

.

II

He’s been warned
of her sharp white teeth,
the necklace of vertebrae kept
hidden among the underthings.

Her openmouthed kisses leave him raw,
his throat lined with salt.

She is too hungry to be trusted.

Tonight, while she sleeps,
he will fill his heart with stones,
drown it deep.

.

III

Sleep is not the forgetting it used to be.

You put the kettle on, wash your face,
watch fireflies crawl on the ceiling
till day breaks.
Love has locked you in this body,
fashioned your wings into tired hands
that fall open, suppliant,
on his chest
like dead spiders.

.

IV

Mine is a magician’s smile
styled with mirrors and smoke,
red wax scrawl, trick of the eye.

At night, when my skin is bare,
I am little more than a question.
I lay still, wait for the one who
will happen upon my true face.

When touched too gently, I say things
only trees understand.

•••

Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné is a poet and artist whose work has been featured in Bim, The Caribbean Writer, Anthurium, tongues of the ocean, Canopic Jar, Small Axe Literary Salon and Poui. In 2009, Danielle was awarded the Charlotte and Isidor Paiewonsky Prize for first time publication by the Caribbean Writer. In 2010, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Danielle was a participant in the 2010 Cropper Foundation Caribbean Writers’ Residential Workshop. She is currently the poetry editor at Anansesem: the Caribbean Children’s Literature Magazine.

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