Saturday, August 21, 2021

Naming Ceremony by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

 Naming Ceremony 

by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers


for Jerry Ward, Jr.

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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Naming Ceremony by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

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