will be buried
where the earth
meets our lips. Where
our throats are the dens
of an unke(m)pt language.
We’ve kept no country,
no promise to ourselves.
Held hands softened only
by one another next to the light
of a passed-down lamp. We mark
our presence with alhamdulillahs
whispered into the cheek
of a tree. Each place you
pray will pray for you,
our mothers told us.
Every step on every
piece of this earth an
invocation against hopelessness. Our feet
our saints. Our eyes
bear witness to the ones that cannot
afford to be buried near their families.
We love what has been
lost before we lose it
because we know this world
pickles our losses
and makes them just sweet enough
to eat again. What can you give us
that we have not already served as a main course?
We don’t need you to come back for our
bodies. We are already cliff,
into ocean. We have already braided
the tendrils closed — ghosts make room for
ghosts. What holds us down
also keeps us listening. Our hearts fashion a world
we think we can’t live in. Like the women
who came before us, we know
what it’s like to be our own suckle.
Buckling beneath the weight
of our pyre, the earth hardens,
refusing our teat, our seed.
We wail for a silent recompense.
We remake our lineage
in our own image. We eke
holy in its drip.
We live off snared hope,
the snaked utterance
of our names: daughter,
After Celine Song and Julie Dash