Beautiful Carvings

She’s a lily white, suburban New York City raised
Born, bred, socially, politically, educationally correct girl
With a small town, Midwestern-minded bigot mother
Who told her not to play with the Italian girls
Even the ones with doctor/lawyer fathers
Or Democrats, or Episcopalians, either,
And later, she was supposed to stay away from
Bronx boyfriends, Catholics, though her father was one,
Anyone from the north side of the tracks, and on and on,
This day’s whim not tomorrow’s or yesterday’s,
She might have died right there, dried up, ceased, but…

Into that tapestry was woven one hot-tempered Jamaican
Rum-drinking, big-hearted, baby-loving caretaker
Who wasn’t afraid of anything.

The baby and the Jamaican, they formed a bond like concrete,
Like superglue, like Canada geese, and neither spoke Wonder Bread,
Pepperidge Farm White sliced sandwich bread very well,
Refined white table sugar in a silver bowl
The baby climbed up to eat and spill on the mahogany table,
So sweet it burned going down, sat there gurgling in her stomach,
No, instead they spoke a savory stew of grunts and chopped sounds,
Midnight breathy whispers, long-legged night biting language,
Voodoo, incense, bloody things sacrificed and burned,
Love so deep your heart goes out, turns outside in, dancing
Drooling, moonlit darkness, body bugs chewing, pure baby woman love.

That tiny-town, narrow minded woman mother sniffed out that love,
No way jealous, threw out that rum-drinker, said she was a booze thief,
Bigot bottle-marking rum drinker herself, threw out that midnight love,
The dark warm ground the seeds sleep in, damp mud-skin embrace,
So tight it hurts, fills that empty place, out like so much trash, unbagged,
Back to plain saltines and grape jelly, broke that baby’s heart,
Smashed it, sledge-hammer-road-kill-smear broke it, baby
Thinking maybe it was dream-time woman love, all child-sided,
But twenty years later, out of the blue, the darkness, and this is true,
The mother broke down and told her true, a call came in, moonlit,

“HOW’S MY BABY NOW?” the caller asked.

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