In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

all that she knew of love and past love   the cord of strength,   string of honey on her tongue,   the heart silted,   the stone turning under water,

  the conch shell pink and smooth in the fiber of one page   secreted,   wind-congealed;   burnt rice ink, holy water, washed   words of the Merciful

his tongue in her ear   copper coin to stave off envy,   indigo mash to her elbows,   a gauze cloth,   feather’s skin:   patience

buried spell in the shaman’s bead sack   in the rocker on the front porch,   in the raven’s yellow eye;   tree-limb chair-back   gone skyward

all she wrote   was story   word-weave   the cloth that would make it so,   spell-blanket, river-thread, cloud-thread

all what lifted stayed [End Page 210]   in the blue lake,   in the songline of her dress falling;   body of mud   body of lace

blue errand unweary hieroglyphic mending water song

Rachel E. Harding

Rachel E. Harding, a native of Atlanta, is a Latin American historian, writer and arts consultant living in Denver, Colorado. Her work has appeared previously in Callaloo as well as in other literary magazines and in anthologies.


The Infelicitous Traffic

The Valongo

during the 19th century, the largest slave warehouse/auction market in Brazil—several million Africans passed through here.


of or pertaining to the city of Rio de Janeiro.

o banzo

a life-threatening wasting-away due to grief and longing; often cited as a cause of death among Brazilian slaves.

Os Prêtos Velhos

“The Old Blacks”; the spirits of the Africans brought to Brazil as slaves.

Os Bisnetos

the great-grandchildren.

Nocturne Oneiros

A Haitian Train


servant; a term used in Haitian Vodoun to denote those who are initiated into the service of the deities.

Oxum of Chimayo


African and Afro-Diasporan deity of rivers, compassion, sensuality, and creativity.


Catholic shrine in northern New Mexico known as a site of miraculously healing earth.




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