The Shade Tree

You will find me in every Gullah-Geechee place,

holy haunting I watch.

I get to know who visits me

I want to be a good psychic

I celebrate the gathering of water

I love to           breathe            the

air        they     breathe

I watch Tre roll a blunt

Dereese push pleasure smoke

while all her folk are moved

by her spirit

tobacco            wafting headstones

Marlanda Dekine’s forthcoming collection, Thresh & Hold, won the New Southern Voices Poetry Prize and will be published by Hub City Press in 2022. Dekine is the creator of the spoken word project, i am from a punch & a kiss. Their poems have been published or are forthcoming in POETRY, Emergence Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, Oxford American, the Poetry Out Loud Anthology, OROBORO, and elsewhere. Dekine is a poet obsessed with ancestry, memory, and the process of staying within one’s own body, leaving spells and incantations for others to follow for themselves. Dekine lives in South Carolina with their wise dog.