she fled from mahogany-hued skin
dark velvet in winter and through spring
summer skin, coated like black beans.
she cried under her bed
comforted by the cold of the linoleum
the children on People Street said
you can’t see coal in the dark.
autumn skin, like eggplants
they say the midwife dyed her skin
purple black. oh what a curse!
her sun-shined fairy begged her to bathe
in a beautifying balm, sacred like holy water
sacred like white skin.
She was fleeing from skin sprinkled
with black spices
from Haiti’s womb
“she’s like the bottom of a frying pan
visible in a blackout if she smiles.”
like night without the stars.
she creamed her face with toxic butter
embracing the mirror
unveiling skin to expose flames and splendor
soon, her skin was textured like scales
of a fish. black ghost knife fish.
she unpeeled soaked-black-bean-skin,
for compost. for her dying wild orchid
tears scalding pink raw flesh.
she fled from her skin
shunned her sun
and now, she is homeless.
Long Island, NY, June 13, 2011
* * *
Yolaine M. St.Fort, a writer of Haitian descent, has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Long Island University. Her thesis was a novel titled My Shadows in the Mirror. She’s had her prose and poetry published or forthcoming in Downtown Brooklyn, Prose Ax, Calabash, Vwa, Poetry in Performance, For the Crowns of your Heads: Poems for Haiti, The Caribbean Writer, Torch and The Haiti I Knew, The Haiti I Know, The Haiti I Want To Know. Hear Their Echoes is her second novel. She’s currently working on a collection of short stories and a poetry manuscript. She teaches English at Edward R. Murrow High School and sometimes adjuncts at LIU. She is the adviser for the school’s literary magazine called The Magnet. She enjoys mentoring young people who are aspiring writers.