Martina Reisz Newberry: Ode to Escrava Anastacia
You had to know you were
a figment of my imaginings.
I dreamed you up from stones
and comic strips, glacier lillies.
You thought your sweet eyes and
magical tongue were real, yes? You thought
that your hair, dark, over
one shoulder as you slept (smelling of
chamomile and sweet grass).
was as real as bread, as physical
as candle wax. Surprise!
I created you during those times
of doubt and self-flagellation that filled
my life. I embraced you
as a substitute for pain, fucked you
in lieu of fear, drank you
instead of regret’s ale. Dear phantom,
I have nothing save love
for you. Your entrance and exit have
steadied me, taken me
From speaking in tongues—a mad farmwife—
to a woman driving
the same sad miles other women drive.
Spirit, we sit calmly
under separate skies. No one would
ever guess the depth of
ashes our volcano created.
Only fire, never ice.
Author’s note: Escrava Anastacia is a popular saint venerated in Brazil. A slave woman of African descent, Anastacia is depicted as possessing incredible beauty, having piercing blue eyes and wearing an oppressive facemask. She is venerated for her healing powers and her patience under hardship.
Escrava Anastacia (from Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia)
Copyright 2020 Martina Reisz Newberry. From Blues for French Roast with Chicory by Martina Reisz Newberry (Deerbrook Editions, 2020).
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Wonderful poem; places the every day on to the level of myth.
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