Black Poets: Marion Bethel

Marion Bethel

Marion Bethel, lawyer and poet, was born in the Bahamas in 1953. Her first collection of poems, Guanahani, My Love, was published in 1995 and won the Casa de las Américas Prize that year.

Morning Walk Meditation

These low-down-lying hibiscus
get plenty style
wearing they sex in full view
just a trample of wrath away
from troubled feet
petals offering pistil and stamen
like holy communion gifts

I used to strip each sepal
pull apart each petal
paint my body hair orange
with a patient anther brush
stroke a velvet stigma
down to fuzz

Snap! – style break
woops! vulvar carpels nude
drunk sugar ants scatter – no shame
nectar on my lips

Snap! – style break
woops! – clit cone bare
tongue on the tip
a sugar high
nectar full of mouth

Snap! –style break
nectar down my windpipe
choke! – lungs in limbo
spitting up bitter blood and bread

Isake of two years wisdom
delighting in her new discovery
straddles my lap grinning
“See, ’gina!”
I say “Pretty, pretty”. A pigeon-pea flower.

I like the style of these hibiscus
not daring anything or anyone
just posing pretty pretty
each morning
as I walk by.

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