Sunday, August 30, 2020

Naming Ceremony by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Naming Ceremony


Shallow curve of the land

between master and owned

I have dismissed you until I come

upon kin     Since time my jaws

have collected accusations

from memory     No logic

grinding my teeth     I have not

been sold     The telling of the coppers

between fingers     (Skin)

I think that I have known freedom

This old story and yet I grieve

accented by our home

Your line reaching back

while I search for the cloth

of our mother’s  bodice

My line snapped     My mind

flying home at Ibo Landing

I think that I have known liberty in

the caverns I have lived in

Valley of Senegambia

Coast of Slaves    Gold    Ivory

(Loss)     The mud of the Bights

Benin     Listen to the talk

beaten by a man and his apprentice

a mortgaged youth     My body

lightened     mongreled currency

Biafra     beaten     Hear me

beaten down blood     free

unclaimed by garbled deity

My father’s call tricks

the music of stopped ears

The flesh of the young men is burning

One of us is Cain     the gardener

of perfidy     unblessed by lineage

the flesh of the young men is aglow

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