Potions

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.

by Yusef Komunyakaa

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