Faith, Works, and My Gris-Gris Doll
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Faith, Works, and My Gris-Gris Doll

Thousands of people visit Marie Laveau’s grave each yearand scrawl xxx on her tombstone, hoping she’ll grant a wish,

pilgrims looking for a voodoo fix. I shouldn’t fuck with voodoo,but once I pilfered a gris-gris doll from a French Quarter vendor

who claimed to be Laveau reincarnate. While fake Marie showedoff her painted Zombi snake, I stuffed the doll in my pocket

because he reminded me of Apollonia with gums bleeding,teeth knocked out, and a necklace made of her own molars,

or Agatha of Sicily with bandages where her breasts used to be.I kissed the doll’s eyeless sockets, pulled out the needles,

and named it Little Joe. The real Marie Laveau drowned snakesin the Mississippi, made potions from frog guts, and converted

pagans to voodoo Catholicism, and many still offer white rumand cigars for her intercession. Although I pray to St. Anthony

when I lose money and wear a brown scapula so the Virgin takesme to heaven when I die, I also pray to real Marie: protect Little Joe,

who lives in my sock drawer wrapped in dollar bills like a mummy.Because, though my room is covered with crucifixes like antennae

sending signals to the ethos that say “Hey dude! I’m right here–it’s me, Little Joe, listen!” I wonder if God looks down at me

like I looked at fake Marie: a Pharisee who is afraid to unwrapLittle Joe from his tomb and see the x’s where his soul should be. [End Page 100]

Rob Stephens

Rob Stephens is a PhD student at Florida State University. His work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in EPOCH, Spoon River Poetry Review, Lake Effect, Minnesota Review, Rattle, and others. Contact him at www.robthepoet.com.

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