I am my father’s name and my mother’s core. I come from one long dirt road with two steep curves– in slow, out fast. I come from rich soil, Chatawa wells, linen drenched in sunrays, and Estée Lauder embraces. I come from firebombed back doors. I come from acts of resistance and freedom marches. I come from a people who didn’t migrate from Mississippi to Harlem or Chicago in the 1920’s– out of the marshy waters of Dunbar Creek where I stood up in the belly of a whale until it spit me out in the Tallahatchie River where a mother could no longer cradle her son. I come from the “bomb capital of the world, 1964”. I come ruggedly, adorned in silk and in cotton, with scabs on my chocolate knees, caked with sand, bearing a poem in my soul. I come humbly from tall porches in summer 1991, reaching into endless buckets of purple hull peas. I come from warm traditions like velvet cakes on Christmas and Grace before eating your meal. I come from lace hats and gloves on Easter. I come from lambent living rooms with tv popping on Thursdays and stereos playing vinyl after vinyl after Sam Cooke remastered on a Saturday night and Shirley Caesar on Sunday morning– heading to Antioch Missionary Baptist Church singing…
oh sweet Jesus.
How I love
calling your name.
I come from “They gets drown” and “Dar he”. I come from evergreen hills in Eastern Cape, South Africa, where they’re carrying on the head and burying treasures. I come from castles and ships, crowns and tribes, turnip greens and candied yams…
because everything works in circles
and Sundays are sacred.