Anthology preview

The red herring odour of unwashed womanhood and blood
hung in the air around the Smith’s house in the village
next to the white-man plantation just side of the cane-fields and mile trees.
It was that innocent hour when dust motes danced in the beams of light
that pushed through the crevices of the rotting siding boards
and the holes in the gable roof. (Biscuit tin good fuh rain catching.)
Dozens of blackbirds made a beeline through backyards first before
imbuing the horizon with bold, black freckles. (Nearly poke out Sue-Sue eye.)
“It is this kind of morning that m’ke me think ’bout the time
of the 1937 Riots when Chase say, ‘Today is a funny night.’”
Old Man Hal waved a finger in the face of a trembling Sue-Sue.

This morning
there was no sound of air whisking through the cane-fields and mile trees.
This morning
Poxy Foot George get the knife knock out he hand just as he was about to
stick the pig in he yard and he run inside, pee down he foot
nearly bre’k ’e neck, “Muuuurrrrrddddddaaaaaa! God blind muh!”
This morning
duppy ride Mary.  
This morning
the vociferous cries of that obeah infant mek Miss Mam choke pun
the two hard bakes and lil’ mauby she t’ief from out Millie house.
This morning
Harietta sat by her window peeping through a space in her the curtain
straight into the Smiths’ house across the dirt road. Straight at
The Backoo Woman’s baby.
“Mrs Smith, yuh got a girl!”
Sunrise: June 16th, 1963, 6:15 AM.
At 6:35, the sickening silence was pierced only by the obstinate cooing
of a single brown dove sitting on a nearby power line.
Moses speak God word!
Moses speak God word!
Garcie Smith cradled the bloody bundle in her basil-sprinkled arms
a few minutes longer before fate intervened and whisked
her away just as quickly as she came.
The Backoo Woman’s baby.
Sunset: June 16th, 1963, 6:37 AM.

Harietta’s daughter stood beside her and tugged on her skirt, which
held the comforting scent of coconut and castor oil and cassava flour.
She lifted the girl on her hip and heard the wind resume its passage
through the cane-fields and the mile trees and the bush-man shed.
The girl peeked out and saw the Smith woman bloodied and cursing
God and the Universe and screaming and rocking and cursing God.
“Mummy, why we stop talking to Aunty? Wha happen to Auntie Garcie?”
Harietta said a silent prayer and turned to finish her smocking dress.
She let the curtain fall in the face of her sister and swallowed the lump in her throat.
“She cuss God ’cause God curse she. Backoo woman can’t got baby.”