Postcolonial Beauty Contrapuntal

by Jemma Leigh Roe

the way moves through streets
heat-stained i breathe
the stagnant fumes—
                                                                                                    man’s greed, a mane of smoke—
unfed by the craving
of mammon
my own hunger withers
                                                                                                    on a fruitless vine
while truth blooms
in the jacaranda my mother
grew. be my mother.
                                                                                                    my mother has died. i have only
her beads, not her strong hands
or long black hair
the scent of
                                                                                                    hyssop and jasmine.
the life she had
waters this garden
where i eat from every tree.
                                                                                                    in the blood orange, i taste
that i am
a rivered mouth
                                                                                                    like a riot, a prayer, a shudder.