Garnalma Press

Toronto, Canada

© 2019 by Yolanda T. Marshall

OBAYIFO

She is the doctor of the night

Fragile scullion in the daylight

Do not be fooled so easily

She is a Black Obeah Lady

Heard they used rice to prevent her plans

When she threatened to suck blood from a baby’s hand

The sound of her talking drums, heard miles away

That ritual rhythm played every day, serenading her praises

To Gods unknown to a common man

Spells cast as she dances in white and moves her hands

 Neighbours talk over fences, squinting just to catch a view

Of the dirty works within her home, they are asking who

Whose time has come to die? Why? Maybe it is you

Worried faces, afraid of what is to come

Black Obeah lady’s spirits will make them run

Her pot is on fire, the scent of herbs freshens the air – repugnantly

She leads the dance, her followers voice along ‘ I am I, Dahomeyans, I Ashanti

Making ashes from burnt bread for sad hearts seeking their lovers back

Craving names into black candles and the spirits will attack

Turning brooms upside down to chase the unwanted away

Squatting over rice, sprinkling salt, soaking names into sugar-water for days

Displaying bones drenched in chicken blood from the fowls in town

Leaving food on the back stairs for her dead Obeah man, Papa Brown

Many recipes in her Oanga bag

To serve paying customers who visit this old hag

Her secrets lie in the power of her spells

Enemies feel her wrath and she inflicts it well

Do fah do ain’t obeah’ says the Obeah Lady

Ms Obayifo, my shadow catching Aunty.

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