I hear the stories of
a local hoodoo shop -
herbs in packets, curses.
I don't do love, the boss lady
says. Just curses.
Love is too messy.

We thought the rain
a sign, how it came
when called by our
sweat, exalted, rain
to nourish the new life
we created each time,
all that want, for what?
Rain rolling over the
gutters, and all those
dirty dishes waiting.

This year, in the folding
of towels, the thinning
of lips, the winter way
my hands catch on fabric,
shreds of tissue in the
lint filter, I stop -
missing that slick sweat,
that tangled want
for nothing.

In this hoodoo shop
of old bones and dried herbs
there is no blessed forgetting
love, and curses.

—Kathleen McCall

(The poem "Hoodoo" originally appeared in "Separate Dreams")