Goddonny Normil

Papa Midnight  

At that impossible crease—both boiling water and iceberg’s tip, 
where heaven and hell play grab ass and shove each other  
for the right footing, 

He stands guard, 
leaning against a wall that is all metaphysics, 
his crisp white hat hung low over his charcoal face, 

a bone-colored toothpick glows 
in between thick, blue-black lips, 
like a solitary hay-needle on tar. 

In Haiti, they call him mèt minui
master of midnight, master of twilight, 
master of crossroads, lord of all things undecided.  Cool cat 

Loitering cemeteries and fading into shadows.  Seen 
yet unseen if only for the booming sound that cracks walls 
and sends genuflecting angels crashing headfirst to earth  
whenever he opens his mouth. 

He’s the quiet one 
with the scale’s golden links deeply burrowed  
into the flesh of his muscular shoulders as he sways 
from side to side 
in the tedious business of balance. 

The stench he brings with him 
is sulfur and hellfire, his hands always burning 
yellow flames the color of hepatic piss. 

Hermes in black face 
and over-white teeth, he smiles broadly, his eyes still burning 
as men wanting other men          dead  
lay rum, sugar cane, and cheap cologne at his feet.

© Goddonny Normil

Goddonny Normil, born in New Jersey and reared in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, works a Client Account Partner with Jacobs Engineering Group where he’s had the opportunity to live and work throughout the Middle East for close to 10 years. He holds a BA in English from Lehigh University and is a graduate of American University’s Creative Writing MFA program. His work has been published in Folio, The Amaranth, This Is What America Looks Like, and Callaloo. He is a recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Grant – “Individual Artist Award” for Poetry. He resides in Aldie, VA with his family.

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