The Book of Immortal Spells, Tess Joyce

Urban-10-P1020326Fading Cyprus, 15X22, watercolor, Gary Buhler


The Book of Immortal Spells
It costs 3 thousand rupiah to grind a coconut down.
The plastic bag bulges with its white and brown flecks.
Tonight I’ll cook it in a green sauce with orange leaves
and lemongrass.  It’ll be too green to be appetising
so I’ll add a splotch of red paint.  Spicy red.
No one will eat it. 
I’ll give it to a shrine in the corner of the room
for an insatiable god with a veracious belly.
I call him Quetzalcoatl because my Teacher
learnt how to say it from a Mexican in Spain.
I say its name 500 times a day as a mantra
and there is no special reason why.
My god is a feathered serpent and so I comb my hair,
drug birds and pluck them.   Parrots, birds-of-paradise
but I prize the sea-eagle.
Cackling, I release them as bald balls, they can’t fly away.
I throw their feathers to the face of the air,
the soil smiles at me as they drop and I am fertile.  Renewed.
I will not die.

Tess Joyce

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