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  • Misery Baby

     

    Once when rent was $600 a month

    and the 1 bedroom came with sawdust still floating in the air

    enough to kill the fish from Woolworth

    enough to distract me while sweeping

    enthralled by each shining particle

    I stepped clear onto a rusty nail

    It shot straight up

    my right foot and poked my left eye

    I hobbled and thought if not for the pain

    I could be a barefoot tap dancer

    Manman cried out more than me when she saw it

    “Pitit mize’m nan”

    My poor misery baby

     

    ***

    Labouyi/Avena con Canela

     

    Whole milk from manman’s teat

    Her gap-teeth gleam against

    Oil-splattered burns on her forearm

    Manmi brings the warm metal spoon to my tongue

    The slippery oat secretion  

    Spreading in my whole mouth

    A woodsy, earthy sweetness

    Fills my head, buoys up my eyes

    And I can taste her womb again

    Crystalized stars and umami and quenched thirst

    She dings the spoon back to the labouyi

    Eyes wide, “Aha!  Mommy’s good, right?”

    Yes, manmi always good

    Even when just a warm fantasma

    Keeping me mellow in the windy morning sway

     

    ***

    An Easy Spell 

     

    Meet him on the corner of Myrtle &

    Broadway blacker than black

    Mos def he already waiting

    Slivers of silver light flashing

    His cleft cheek catches one

    from the above thrashing tracks

     

    Walk him through the Locust 

    The START center releasing them daily

    Nodding a rock, napping on cracks

    Give ‘em a dap

    Even as they cravin’ to smack

    That loose one from your pack

     

    Take him past the BKLYN House Hotel

    Then slither the spell

    “I lost my first tooth here”

    With his tongue caressing that empty place

    Make him soothe the sayer

     

    ***

    Morning Dreams to Remember

     

    I still remember you

    Growling, a 1961 yearning

    Dell speakers trembling

    The shell like goosebumps

    Come to me

     

    The thing

    about a gap-toothed smile that has only spoken love and humor and wit and fuck the man and mi Cuba está libre y Ayisyen yo sea nuestros hermanos y all the genders can dress up as Frida Kahlo

      Is that

    you want to kiss that mouth just to drink the joy pouring from it

    the gap, a sieve to keep you from obliterating into pregnant atmospheric matter ready to burst more of this love onto the heads of others.

     

    Others who have tried forgot about the kitchen

    with its tightly coiled hair, perfect circles

    one of the most perfect coils in nature.

    You kissed them and said in my ear

    “Coconuts. I want to taste the jelly.”

     

    About The Author

    Jennifer Headshot 3cropped (1)

    Jennifer Celestin

    Ms. Celestin is a Haitian-American writer, performer, and facilitator. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University, her M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from the John Draper School, New York University where she penned her thesis dealt with Haitian-American Literature and Identity. Jennifer also earned a M.F.A. in Fiction at Queens College, The City University of New York (CUNY.) Her writings have appeared in Akashicbooks.com, No, Dear Magazine, The Hawai’i Review, and most recently in la Revue Trois/Cent/Soixante. She resides in Brooklyn, NY and can be found on the A/D/B/Q/2/5 subway trains commuting to Harlem for her 9-5 where she works in Development and Grants at CUNY. Her best days are when she can get a seat on the train and then write.