to Petronilha (aka grandmama)

petro is a big fat lipped ghost, naked in the backyard
moles all over brown skin
fruits from trees, truths from air

wife of bessa; midwife first and foremost,
she who delivered plenty…

that ghost named like blackness and oil, naked in the backyard.

she who tastes like cranberry jam
she who wasn’t welcome.
she who was needed.
she who gave mom the weak and strong heart
she, the intuitive
she who gave me bittersweet love for crepuscules and ave marias
                                                                              to which I cry, still.

i like ghosts: they’re gods.

beware of backyards, where ghosts thrive in trees
in birds chants
in jasmin flowers
and the healing powers of aloe vera and pitanga leaves
beware and love backyards, where ghosts live
on snakes hidden in stumps
and frogs, and termites, and sunsets and sunrises

beware and pray for backyards
where oxum lives in streams
oxossi reigns
and nanã walks around, naked.

each should have a yard
where guava trees hold strong swings
to watch spring and fall come and go

at night
the rabbit who inhabits the yard
its bunnies following in the darkness…
I watch them, envy them.
she, unconscious of me, going about her duties of feeding and care.
they, protected by her,
growing through darkness and flare

each should have a yard, to watch these naked beings.

I like gods: they are ghosts.

*first published @