Two Poems by Saida Agostini

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

Pleasure Pays a Visit

after Malika Booker’s Sin Visits Me

and how could you not love her madly, faithlessly?
she: eating curried chicken and roti
feeds you the meat and when the juice
streams outside your mouth, licks
it in front of everyone, brash
as only a woman with a sweating knife
strapped between strong breasts can be
singing pomps and pride loudly with a chorus
of frogs into the night
urges you on into the wining
cradle of her big hips. you: pull a plot
of her hair round your face, root your ass
into her, and find she tastes like tamarind balls
—all brown and rosy, blooming and wet in sugar

how could you not love her madly, faithlessly?
everything is magicked with her:
the bright roads, your own hands
in the wind placed up against the moon
she sings anita baker wetly into your ears
and you become a trembling vine round
her, a fiend for every descendant of her breath

how could you not love her madly, faithlessly?
serve her tea and milk in granny’s silver, cook
dishes spiced with wanting that cannot wane
call her darling as she finally comes to your table
thank god when she is back in your home—beg her to stay
past midnight when the liquor has died
on her tongue, and only the taste of you is left.
her laughs a storm of thunder splitting
your thighs, she raises you up and dances to the door,
disappears into the great dark, leaves you in a house
packed with food and wanting
nipples harder then hail

where does the story start?

with outrageous grief
so luscious so rare, we’ll keep it for generations
bring it out at the finest of dinners, plant it in fields
and thresh its stalks at night.
it starts with a ring of jeweled mermaids beckoning
great uncle harold from solid ground to a golden city
submerged in shining black water,
his wife weeping and weeping at the shores among
his rough nets, harold’s boat empty and rollicking in the middle
of a river. him rising after seven days towards the pomeroon
sun, pulled up wailing by scaled lovely arms.
it starts with the jumbee, dead slave children hungry for friends
pining in the winds behind great granny’s house, drawn
to salt and fevers of blue fire. it starts with broken
glass, the surprise of blood in a wife’s waiting mouth,
my great grandfather’s hand curled in a fist. it
starts with a riot of stubborn love more drunk then the pastor
at my baptism, with one lie, then another, then another, until a whole world
is born, and we wait, a revolt of black girls—
daughters to no one

Photo of Saida Agostini

Photo of Saida Agostini

Saida Agostini is a queer afro-guyanese poet and activist. Her work is featured in Origins, Drunk in the Midnight Choir, the Black Ladies Brunch Collective's anthology, Not Without Our Laughter, the Baltimore Sun, pluck!, The Little Patuxent Review, and other publications. She has received support for her poetry from Cave Canem, the Blue Mountain Center and other institutions. Other honors include the award of a 2017 Ruby grant to support the development of her first full-length collection of poems, uprisings in a state of joy