Race and Religion in Creative Consciousness

I met a man with many-colored skin
whose gaze wrapped around my body like a snake
winds round a tree, with razors in his grin
and dry leaves, dust, and insects in his wake

wherever he went. But when he paused his stride,
his crashing voice was open as the sea
and rhythmic as the nodding of the tides
toward the half-faced moon. He danced with me:

our muscles shook like drums, and hot salt fear
poured from our skin and eyes. His fingers passed
beneath my throat: his soul he held so clear,
so glitter-sharp, it shone like broken glass.

That instant, I looked through his mirror face
and saw the grave laid open in his place.

Spring 2005. For Mestre Pastinha. Click here for Olivia Maurer‘s sung version of this poem.