The Music of Osun
after the painting by Arianne King Comer
Ariannes in the parking lot on the edge
of the Gullah Festival, helping white-haired
ladies imprint their own patterns for scarves
her blue the color of their childhood lips
when they emerged from a Michigan lake
or walked along Kennesaw River
or the wind blew through their years
along the North Way.
Ariannes long braids
dangle free, almost sweeping the wet indigo
pads. A gospel group on the Festival platform
sings, Were walkin in the light,/ Let the light
shine over the world,/ Were walkin in the light.
Inside De Aarts Ob We People exhibit,
I poke my head under Ariannes Indigo
Tree, her splay of blues and greens, these colors
the hues of a peoples clasp in that other land.
Makeshift upper branches: skeletons of old umbrellas
draped with dyed fabrics. Even here under
fluorescents the cast shadows spell labor
and grief, the tints of joy, stories of fathers
taken away, the legends of indigo.
Across the room, across
the sacred groves hardwood forest floor,
dyeing pots hidden by trees in Ariannes
The Music of Osun, the Yoruba river goddess
with her eyes closed, her moon face risen
into the color of yams, a woman dancing,
her braids swinging free of Detroit, of history
untelling itself in the Sea Islands, before cotton,
Arianne dancing at the goddesss edge,
on feathery tips of indigo, Oshogbo and Yoruba
the winds praise, fertile syllables, each morning
a lost princess rising from the water, brass bangles
along her arms, her fingers blue, Arianne singing.
John Allman | Mudlark No. 31
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