The Ole Higue Goes Hunting*

Saida Agostini

legend holds that I am
ugly and stooped, covered in frightful
disdain. but rather I glory in my own
sight: naked black wrinkled flesh, breasts
low hanging ripe fruit, my
sex a shining damp shell. at nights while
you slumber, I go flying crowned
in blue fire above the mahaica,
my skin left sleeping in bed.
there are those who would
argue my midnight visits spur madness
report of women who cup machetes as
they would my breasts and do a violence
to their men. I say the taste of me
intoxicates, bewitches my beloveds
to cut what keeps them tethered
and sighing, toiling in heat for a
man that does little good. in truth
this way is no easier: boys
spread white salt and rice in
strict lines to bar me from my own skin
my own beloveds shy with fear
when they first see me
but then I reach out my hand, hold
them to my chest and sing the history
of old black women digging and crafting
this ancient earth into consciousness. I say
this is yours, take it, a?nd they come
shuddering with power
* ?The ole higue is a myth created by dutch enslavers in Guyana. A hunchbacked old woman, the ole higue was said to depart her skin at night and beguile young women into killing their families.

Last updated September 27, 2022