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praise for the ancestors

praise the life of my mother’s mother.
I never saw her words as bitter bush but
rather the type of tea that starts your morning,
the type that stays with you.

how is it over there? I hope the smell of red dirt doesn’t ruin the flowers.

It’s not morning but I keep drinking,
hoping I’ll taste the memory of you.

praise the mighty hands of those I clasped in my dreams.
crevices in your palms held worlds where I was reborn,
made into a crenellation, made into a body.
lines bloodshot with a familiar anguish pushed me to hope,
wrung me into a wrath worth writing about. I am nothing
but an omphalos of your words—
and hopes. the flesh and blood of a thousand poets run
through me
full of love
full of resistance.

praise the bodies that twisted only in desire and never out of force.
carved like limestone,
there is a foundation
a history in these bones.
you made the unholy holy, walked in the sea
no one dared part. created churches of strength to pass down to
the babies. set yourself on fire just to be free,
to be.
I feel the strength
I’m lighting a fire.

praise the magick you left us to find you.
you’re in the flowers and trees, the soil in the ground,
the vision in the cards, 777, 444, the songs, the mojo hands,
wrapped temples, florida water, poetry,
in me.


Kay-Ann Henry is a Jamaican poet and writer who is currently attending school in Miami studying journalism and creative writing. Through her writing, she is constantly finding ways to document the journey of exploring all the identities that exist within her: Black, queer, daughter, immigrant. In her free time, she enjoys daydreaming, reading June Jordan, and looking at birth charts.

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