poetry// holy water

Water is my healing
It calls my name in all of its pronunciations
My toes crawl back to the rivers
& the lakes
& the places I know where the earth’s veins tumble open
And oxidize at human touch.

Water is my song
The waves / the sounds of river slapping up against concrete harbor columns /
The trickling sound of rain as it cools off of my window
/ The whisper of the morning dew /
The waterfalls chanting & the way that my body exhales
When it meets the water

God took dirt and water and made me
And so, of course, my peace
is found at their meeting points
The shore,
The bank,
The muddy and overflowing front lawn
These are the places I find myself again

I go searching for linage
For family history
For language and tradition that I can bathe in and keep as the antidote
I want to name my predecessors like we name rivers
And Great Lakes and the Gulfs of Oceans

So it is natural that I collect up fragments
Of my own story by the water
The ocean an ancestral burial ground of all of my people who cast down
Their bodies as staffs
And still could not part the sea

Somewhere in Sudan, a river forks off
And makes a wet and wondrous diaspora
In all the ways I wish I could pronounce myself African and
Sudania but my tongue will not let me

Somewhere in the thickness that is
America’s sin, a predecessor
finds the river and pledges allegiance to its current.

She floats her way to freedom and lets the night sky guide her

For my people,

The water is the final stretch,
The landing zone
it is healing and whole-making
In the dancing reflection, I can see my ancestors leaping from ships and letting the water set them free

Water is freedom


the Nile / the Mississippi / they are my own north stars bleeding across the earth and guiding me back to a home so many have left for me.

I lower myself into the water
Let its glassy freshness overtake me

Let it  flow down my back and watch as all of the pain

& dirt

& guilt

Wash away.

/ I always wave goodbye before I go /


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