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ISSUE:  Summer 1999

If my tongue were forced
to leave my mouth,
if I couldn’t manage
the hard consonants of this language,
I’d find a way to speak still:
to tell you how I once rocked
to that flicker in my mind,
my body in time to the white-blue flame;
to whisper stories of mongoose
running from Anancy’s bag of tricks,
always being caught in the end.
To recover each memory
stored under my skin—opening now
like the guineps I knew as a child:
pods filled with bitter-sweet fruit:
olive skin yielding, laying desire
on my palm and tongue.


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