There’s a bad moon shining
through my kitchen window.
It even has the animals spooked.
I haven’t heard an owl or even
a dog bark for three hours now.
Ms. Jackson says her voodoo lily
is about to bloom and she’s been
out there watching that plant in the garden
since way before sunset.
She said, “Twila, that flower is gonna
stink like the dead just been pulled
from the grave, but it’ll smell better
than all those secrets fermentin’ inside you.”
I don’t know how that crazy old woman does it.
If you make the mistake and look her in the eyes,
she’ll crawl into your pupils to dig through lies
until she finds what you don’t want the world to know.
I’m not getting near Ms. Jackson tonight.
She can stay out there alone on bended knees
waiting for that plant to deliver its swamp Jesus.
I’ve got a name tucked deep in my ribs where
nobody can cut it from the bone unless I surrender the knife.
©Susie Clevenger 2014
This is the third poem in my Twila series.
Voodoo Lily plants are grown for the gigantic size of the flowers and for the unusual foliage. The flowers produce a strong, offensive odor similar to that or rotting meat. The smell attracts the flies that pollinate the flowers. You can find out more about the plant here.