“I will carry a knife and always it in my mouth”

“I will carry a knife and always it in my mouth.”  – Fátima Portorreal



here looking for bones. huesos. unborn generations within fossil coral ancient mud

flanked by wood. engineered madera. stone. piedra


nurse & herald. on luscious lands both victim & captor


my ancestor frightens me

because she is unafraid to show her face

where I lay


Elmina Castle is across the waters. messengers cemented inside deep prefitted gates. prepped for rape & market. Elmina is a Ghanian patchwork skirt.


amarillo for Dutch. bricks archival.  rojo for Portuguese. 

dents are muscle & roof tiles. this scent a troubled question. 

authenticity. re/installment. renovation. restored terrences


I am afraid here because polished replaced rock conceals something.


at Ingenio Boca de Nigua, the lack of putrid molasses makes ghosts of Mastiffs louder. they are in chase of Wolof & Canary skeletons rising

still shackled to their Catholic priests. I hear every bite wail clang fist


here lost in sediments my ancestor is of these worthless Caribs

those Congolese, 

them Guineans, 

that Angolan


despite her womanhood crowned with bayahibe,

battered feet, wide & flat carry denial’s weight.


she makes the blood & chains obvious. 


this damaged fistula. 

that hemorrhage. 

this embolism. 

these severed heads. infections gone septic


upon hearing the palmchat mixed sand & brick

here she stands uncrushed by the sugar’s capicé

a metaphor never swinging at the Door of Mercy


who says “sin hombre, she is useless because she converses with spirits”?

     this border’s fragility is not as fierce 


my ancestor is assembling the bones of Ana Maria. 

this warrior is rattling the grave of Mama Tingo. 

my mother is pulling from rubble 

Myriam Merlet,  Magalie Marcelin

Anne Marie Coriolan, Nicole Grégoire, Gina Dorcena, Mirland Dorvilus, Bernardine Bourdeau


all of her names are remedy.

names heavy on tits exhumed from nightmares

y sin hombre, she is preparing the body of Sonia Pierre 

for a proper burial

while Cardinals aspire to burn the names of those 

whose spit polish the kitchen tiles & secular marble

sin hombre, she is Atabey, cradling the stillborn children of children named Lucia


the centurion witches of Batey fear her. politicians lose sleep.


with her fishing net, sin hombre, she drags the sea in search of more ancestors

who one by one, speak to her in tongues, in dreams, in flight. 



my ancestor frightens me

because she is unafraid to show her face

where I lay.