Yusef Komunyakaa

(April 29, 1947)

Potions Poem by Yusef Komunyakaa


The old woman made mint
Candy for the children
Who'd bolt through her front door,
Silhouettes of the great blue

Heron. She sold ten-dollar potions
From a half-lit kitchen. Chinese boxes
Furnished with fliers & sinkers. Sassafras
& lizard tongues. They'd walk out

Of the woods or drive in from cities,
Clutching lovesick dollar bills
At a side door that opened beside
A chinaberry tree. Did their eyes

Doubt under Orion as voices
Of the dead spoke? They carried
Photos, locks of hair, nail clippings,
& the first three words of a wish.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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