Diamonds and Serpents
I used to think I was blessed,
But I know now that I am cursed.
People would call me crazy
Especially those wretched souls who live along the swamp
And cry out in the middle of the night
For rice, fried fat, okra, anything–
You can have all your heart desires with diamonds dropping from your mouth.
Foolishly I thought so too.
I made the mistake of speaking to a gentleman on a horse.
He watched diamonds fall on the ground
Didn’t matter that I wasn’t particularly fair.
Beneath that scorching sun, he got off his horse and proposed.
On account of my skin, I knew I wouldn’t get a better offer.
He put his hand under my chin as I said, “yes.”
A rare pink diamond landed softly in his hands.
The wedding was small and coldly private.
Truth is he wanted to keep our marriage a secret.
With my diamonds, he built the largest plantation on the island.
To keep me still, he brings me gifts from all over the world.
My “thank you’s,” just cushion his pocket.
I spend my days hidden in a gilded cage,
My thoughts written down on white muslin.
At night, I listen to my husband and his women–
I pray for my sister’s gift, even for a day.
Tiffany Buck is a former librarian. She lives in the foothills of Appalachia. Her poems have appeared in Rabble Lit, the San Pedro River Review, and Poetry Breakfast.