Pas toi

Daria-Ann Martineau


eau – that my name is fluid as French:
Creole Sea-Captain in it, businessman
who charged the village
five cents each for his running water.

                                                  It’s the “no”
at the end: the young lawyer who left politics,
the woman who drowned    her family in his—
Why should I relinquish that
to Butler?       Sans Mar-
           tineau? There’s safety in servitude: without
art       of war,
          coup d’etat     that mars
                       our marital state.

            One but too many in taking your name.

Clark Gable’s Rhett   can offer me nothing
of my ancestors
                     who carried contraband.

I want to smuggle that story in like a calypso, like a code-song
for leaving the South.
I know                        full well
this place of yours.    If I must belong to you
          I’d rather not hear it in my name.