Poems by Danielle Legros Georges, August 2012

August 2012

Laisse-moi devenir
L’ombre de ton ombre
L’ombre de ta main
L’ombre de ton chien
Ne me quitte pas
—Jacques Brel


You Will Listen to Me—1

New York: A man who built a voodoo shrine
using his ex-girlfriends’s underwear—
then killed her mother, and a dog—

was sentenced Thursday to 28 years to life
in prison. The ex-girlfriend, Françoise McDaley,
16, told police that Pierre Carrenard, 36,

harassed her after she broke up with him.
On the day of the crimes, it is reported
Carrenard called her at work and threatened

her mother, Esperance Labidou, a Haitian
immigrant who worked at a bus company.
Carrenard later stabbed the mother 25 times

in her home, before he turned the knife on her
Chichuahua, Foo Foo. He then fled to Florida.
Police found a shrine in his apartment, made

of McDaley’s underwear and one of his socks
tied together in a vine. Carrenard explained
in court that the shrine “was a sort of spell

to control her spirit.” Police also found
a letter in his apartment. “All I want to do
is to love you and make a life with you,

but your family keeps getting in the way.
Let this be the last interference. You will
no longer listen to your family. You will
listen to me.”


You Will Listen to Me—2

What you have just read is a condensed
transcript of the real news story, “Man
with voodoo shrine gets life in prison.”*

No byline accompanies this titillating tale
of murderous love; the wild pair of sock
and underwear, vine of love; the breed-ID’d dog,

whose name is “Crazy Crazy,” if said
in Creole. What is crazy? The man stabbing
the mother; the man knifing the dog;

the story itself a dog, rummaging through trash
for a bone. And what of the girl? Only 16
to the man’s 36 years. Here the story

doesn’t blink. Should we write a new headline,
leave voodoo alone, and continue to climb
up this story’s vine?

“Man with mental illness menaces family”?
Do not leave me, dear reader, as I dredge up
the dreary details, the awful facts. Ne me quitte pas.

* “Man with voodoo shrine gets life in prison,” Associated Press, 18 August 2006


Danielle Legros Georges is an associate professor in the Creative Arts in Learning Division of Lesley University. She is the author of a book of poems, Maroon (2001), which explores Haitian-American identity. Her poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in Agni, the American Poetry Review, Black Renaissance Noire, Callaloo, the Caribbean Writer, Consequence, Encarta Africana, the Boston Haitian Reporter and the Women’s Review of Books, among other publications; on The Bill Moyers Journal (PBS program); and in numerous anthologies.