Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism

m a r y   e l i z a b e t h   p a r k e r

The red hound, afraid maybe of the flicker of sun
on the hallway floorboards, or afraid of something,
refuses to walk there. Her legs lock.

Hall juju, we call it. The bones of the dead
the footings were laid over
hissing at her in a voice we don't hear.

Each house is built over bones -- it can't help it --
fresh wood, white stucco raised clean over ghosts -- no space is ever
clear of claims. A shrine must be hollowed out

for the blue bowl filling with water,
for the child's hand dipping in to displace
that water with air. The spare blade goes in

and the retreat barely leaves a trace,
but years later we remember deaths,
fear a flicker of something once substantial --

now like a flash of dust poured through an open window,
juju of dead things, scaring the dog.

From The Sex Girl, 1999 ~ publisher Urthona Press, Asheville, NC

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