Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts
Fiction   /   Nonfiction   /   Poetry

Evangeline Speaks

by Darrell Bourque


That girl you think you see beneath the oak beside the Teche, she is other

than the girl I was. I was surely with all those other women forced to leave

a life they had grown into, but I was never what they were, never a mother,

never even married. When other women gathered reeds and grasses to weave


into baskets, I was there and I may well have helped them. But let’s be clear,

I grew into something that had to do mostly with what people needed of me.

I am the loyal one, the one faithful to a man I may or may not have held dear.


When rain and heat fall on fertile soil, things grow, & that is how I came to be.

I was not among those that fought back, wielded axes, or negotiated with bears

for a place to live. I was never with the women who foraged for medicinal teas


to save a spouse in a wild land no one knew, or nursed a child, never smothered

by want or dread. I never planted crops or took them in, never had to cleave

through thicket and vine to make a way for myself. I was always covered

by right image & right sound, measured neatly in what others wanted to believe.