When I was young,
full and fierce as a hunterâ€™s moon
I promised her Iâ€™d stay.
I swore Iâ€™d let no man take me
from the place where she fell,
forehead ablaze with forests
of fevered cocoa and burnt moths.
I wore charred wings in my hair
for weeks after she left,
I prayed to her in tongues
of wild grasses and deep water.
Still, he came, followed me
into the houseâ€™s dry cradle,
waning and weak
in the absence of her light.
He caught me by my griefâ€™s throat,
blew smoke into my eyes
to tame me.
Some nights, I turn to face him,
her love lodged in my heart
like an antler.
I have embroidered her name
on my daughterâ€™s left earlobe,
scratched it on the underside
of my best iron pots. I feed him
the burnt bodies of moths
when he is hungry, watch him
grow steadily heavier, stiller,
as solemn as timber.
Some mornings, my daughterâ€™s face
is as gold and soft as sunlight.
I bless her in my motherâ€™s tongue,
Wrap her in a shawl made from
tree roots and the grey wool
of young doves.
see how Iâ€™ve grown watery and thin
between these white walls.
Coal Mine is a mouthful of earth
in my memory, teeth against stone,
dry lips against water,
over and over again,
~ Danielle Boodoo-FortunÃ©
Danielle Boodoo FortunÃ© is a Trinidadian poet and artist.