Jamaica Baldwin. Photo by Stephen Lestat


The strangle of body,
twist of torso against gravel,
the pierce of barbed wire on her skin.

Her feet are toughened and cracked
like soap used then left to dry.
She could walk on fire with them feet,

could scratch designs on your back
with them feet. Them hoofs could carry her
through burning and smolder.

She is everywhere:
the audacious woman
who never says sorry

if she ain’t sorry.
Who never bites her tongue
unless she wants to taste blood.

Who walks through crowds
as if they’re going to part for her.
They part for her.

Mimicking with precision, I rearrange my limbs,
these unseemly bends and arches.
I walk without shoes

so my feet can feel the weight of her, but
with each step I’m distracted
by trees whispering leaves to the ground.

Not deranged
or borderline anything,
but she with her wits about her

who lets loose her hair
and breasts, who sits
on the street

dirty, disheveled,
happily conversing
with a murder of crows