Poem: “Nwanne Di Na Mba”

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[Poem]

I've been displaced from my living mother , taken from her fashioned bosom, detached from her kingdom of heaven, and sown into, an array of chains, clasped around my poking veins and dangling feet
Her full, potent bosom detached from my plump mouth, carves reemits of her golden milk, which still lingers on the crevices of my dew lips. I've been taken from the thickness of her lap, it sedated my chocolate epidermis with adoration, affection to the highest degree. Like a babe who rests her newly formed structures, I felt her lap wrapped around me like a well-defined porcelain bowl; pressing my tiny ears against the glass of her bosom. This peculiar lap signified her African heartbeat of  power, of strength.


I would not fall.

My mother calls me home with remembered drums 
my unknowing heart picks up the rhythm, Dances in sync to a beat that sounds vaguely familiar to my soul.It reminds me of the liquid that ebbs and flows within my veins, Carrying along the essence of my fathers’ father, my mother’s mother,They who danced to this same drum.My Mother calls me to a faraway coastThat hundreds of years of waves have crashed upon,
Stirring up scents from forgotten memoriesdisplaced in the face of American assimilation.

Cluck, tug, tug, these metal hooks do not care the way my layers of black flesh swing and loop to form the soft parts of my being. Instead, they suck like ticks at the ownership of my blood, draining the marrow from my bones. I am detached, alone in darkness' vomit, drastic stench, invisible to parasites' eyes. This boat is not my home.

My mother calls me home with a vestige of a remembered tonguecarried along harmattan winds, ringing in my ears likecrickets in a nighttime field,  illuminated by a full moon that mirrors thefullness of a life that I have never known.My mother invites me home to a home I could not call my ownYet I longed for her invitationIt inspired a cry from the deep that gives way to a yearning,a burning that carries me away from my body to be reunited with the one who bore me.

Centuries without my Mother’s lap represses the tracks of her soulful face.  Weathered by our lack of touch, my delicate wires to the brain cannot perceive where the seed and the fertilizer had birthed me. A land, oceans from my own, I have adopted a blue water's culture. Molded by isolated islands, deep-seated accents. Curated by reggae and calypso. Fattened by oxtail and roti. My Caribbean ancestors fashioned a new colonized tongue indifferent to mothers'. I grew hair not knowing the kind of follicles I had. The ties I had to my mother. I would listen to her sing but not understand her tongue. I would whine my waist but not see her etgihi. I longed for a reconnection of this disconnect. To understand where Me came from. Without knowing my mother I was empty-handed of precious knowledge. Perpetuator of romanticizing her kingdom and survival ways. Of Othering her distinctiveness. I long to take my Caribbean feet to my mother and relapse in her lap once again

She tells me that the story that has been told about her was skewed, misconstrued.That She has been in labor for centuries. Laboring to yield crop that she did not consume.Laboring to separate herself from the monolithic character that others relegated her to.My mother calls me home with a romanticized dream in waking.Brazen beauty emboldened by the sun that refuses to set over this land.This sun is a reminder that this story is not yet done,That I must return to write my page.That my displaced brothers and sisters must return to write their page.

-Arnelle Williams & Stacy Uchendu 

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