Hibiscus: A Creole Lady
E.J. Antonio

i was all about the show
my stone-gray crown
blossomed eternal in the mornings
its delicate coral charmeuse edges
a soft contrast to my forested body
all were drawn to my exotic
i laughed / paid them no mind
i went about a lady’s business
tanning in the sun / twirling & flaring
so no part of me was missed
in early afternoon
Eve walked with me
enjoying the gawkers
she & i danced a rag in the clearing
my coral blushed brilliant
yellow: a sudden fever
growing in Eden turned me harlot
a bump & grind kind a wicked / in the wind
the rhythms of cicadas & crickets
their lusty tango / twisted me
until my leaves drooped
& i became a raw mouth woman
as the sky’s brine & ash
covered me in a dark scream
my crown opening & closing
incessantly / begging for a spotlight
that lasts more than a day


E.J. Antonio is a recipient of fellowships from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, the Cave Canem Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is the author of two chapbooks, Every Child Knows, (Premier Poets Chapbook Series 2007) and Solstice, (Red Glass Books, 2013), and a CD, Rituals in the marrow: Recipe for a jam session. – www.ejantoniobluez.net

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