A POEM FOR JOE........
I stared bleakly at this dark place they called a prison, i could hear the chants from outside the small peep hole that was mistaken for a window.....they were calling for my head.
The voices seemed to rise in unison as the dawn approached , I could smell their vicious rage ,their blood running hot calling for my head , i did not even flinch when the key turned as the warder came in to usher me to my ceremonious death,i was already filled with unimaginable pain "where is joe? why wont he come.." i wondered.
This was not how i was supposed to end up, dressed in a loose fitting grey dress, the stench from sleeping in my own waste seemed unapparent to the eager onlookers that peered from the prison walls , watching the blasphemous adulterer walk to meet the hangman.
Two weeks ago things were different i remember the exact moment i met him, i had taken my last daughter to the stream for the first time,as i approached my house and stopped when i saw a stranger sitting with my husband on our stools outside. i felt his gaze before i looked upon his face, dark eyes peering at me behind a hooded cloth, i should have run away then, the heat i felt beneath my legs had nothing to do with the scorching sun burning my back.
I could not wait to hear the introductions my husband made, i could not breathe i refused to meet his eyes darting into the security of my room as i got myself together, who was this stranger that made me feel this way without speaking a single word? i wondered aloud. In the days that followed he became my tormentor, a serpent camouflaged with the looks of a man, he became a regular caller to our abode, bringing gifts, always looking at me intensely without saying a word, my husband was oblivious, drunk from the strangers gift of wine he welcomed this man, always with a smile , my husbands dim witted demeanor was not surprising , he cared more for his belly than he did his family , he would sell me off to the highest bidder if they asked but the stranger never asked....he never asked me my name...never asked me my thoughts...never asked for things it was unholy for a married woman to want to be asked for but i so wanted to be asked.
That fateful day my husband had dragged himself out of the house, taking the children he left me alone in the house ,by fate or by choice i know not but i stayed indoors anxiously waiting for the footsteps i knew were sure to come..and then he came , his footsteps light and sure stopped by the entrance to our hut, i should have stayed in my room, i should have pretended not to hear him but he called out to me.Gripped with fear and excitement i stepped out and i saw him fully for the first time, His skin was not as black as ours, light like chocolate and tall like the palm tree he stared at me intently not speaking for what seemed like an eternity, "I've come for you" i heard him whisper and slowly he walked into my house.
The house trembled as if in unison to my heart beat, afraid yet aroused "i don't even know your name" was what i could mutter . He stopped and i swear a shadow came over my abode , "joe" he whispered his voice like sweet honey on my skin , when he reached for me i did not resist, i stopped thinking when his lips touched mine and so it begun like a drunk obsessed with drink i sought his every touch, he would call out to me in my sleep and i would heed his call walking into the night, he made love to me on the leaves, on the bed, by the stream every day i felt my soul slipping into dark territories but i could not stop.i would not stop.
That night as he tore into me he whispered "would you die for this" and i screamed "yes" exploding into a million pieces as i climaxed underneath him. that was how they found me, half naked , exhausted with a smile on my lips and no lover in sight, the humans came for me.
"witch" they called out, the men with their lamp stands , "you come into the forest every night to sleep with the spirits" i said nothing, i was beyond their salvation, they dragged me half naked through the village and taunted me with names i cared not about , the only thought that crossed my mind was where is joe? was he a man or was he a spirit , would he abandon me to the rope of the hang man . The crowd was unruly , for nights they had heard a maiden making ungodly noises in the forests and sought me out in fear, finding me half naked after the throes of love making with no lover in sight they had made up their mind. I was the curse that plagued them at night , i had broken tradition by coupling with the gods i was an anomaly that should be removed, i stood condemned to die in fear wondering if they were right, wondering if truly i had been bewitched by the dark eyes of a ghost as i sought him out with my eyes "where is joe"
They repeated questions they had asked me since they found me "confess your sins and be saved " and i stood frightened, who would believe me , what would i say? that i had fallen for the charms of a light skinned stranger who had disappeared, that i would gladly die to be in his arms one last time.
So before the hangman put the cloth around my neck they asked me to say my last words and i said "you tell joe thank you for showing me how to love before i meet my maker" and then i saw him, towering over the crowd he came for me, still hooded, still mysterious and no one could dare to lift a finger, he took me into his arms and whispered in my ears "I've come for you, the pain you knew you would know no more."
And so she died the quiet maiden with a smile on her lips before her strength had left, Human or Witch we knew not what she was but her last words were JOE.