Ogun owed Oxun for the fee he paid
to divorce Yemayá in the watery deep.
Babalu Aye‘s messenger delayed
(no rum in the bargain – price too steep)
until San Martín, divine caballero
deceived the third wife of el Indio Guerrero.
(Obatala‘s beats got lost in transit
the rhythm robbed by macumba-bandit.)
Eleguá cleared paths for He Who Opens Pores.
Black roosters smoked puros at midnight. Outdoors,
Santa Muerte was asked to turn down the noise
so Nana Buluku could get some sleep.
As she gathered Ashé, reduced to a heap
of Yoruba fool’s gold anointed with blood
Oduduwa pretended he understood;
but his mother-in-law knew he never would
until Olódùmarè returned from the feast
having sacrificed roosters while facing east.
The santero drew me a pictogram
to protect me from forces my poem conjured
but the blood of a sacrificed perfect lamb
affords more protection, I knew. He wondered.