Cuba Night Woman

After dark
I slide
like a serpent
out of my skin

and become
the blue bahía
of Cienfuegos

the rhythm
and orishas of Rumba

the sugar-sweet smoke
of Cohíba
curling
vanishing
like a spirit
into the wet-hot
Havana night

the crocodile’s
lash and bite

the fever blood
of lovers
that could call fire
from rain

Come daylight
I am woman
again

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Shayla Hawkins has been published in, among other journals, Calabash, The Caribbean Writer, Tongues of the Ocean, TORCH: Poetry, Prose, and Short Stories by African American Women, and Vwa: Poems for Haiti. She lives in Detroit, Michigan.

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