Consort of the Spirits
after Ntozake Shange
There are roadmaps in my great great grandmother’s braids. She keeps seeds in there too. Because where we are going, home must come with us. Tell me how your mother hides spices in the hem of her skirt. Tucks hymns behind her ears, and calls it packing for tomorrow. Do the women in your family Hide rosewater in their saliva? Sage in between their thighs, because how dare we sleep on strange land without blessing. Tell me how your sister folds indigo leaves between her toes smuggles cotton flowers under her arms and promises that where we are going there will be color. There are black-eyed peas in my auntie’s coin purse. She keeps moonlight in there too. Because luck is far more precious than loose change. I carry a cowrie shell in the crook of my arm. It sings when my twins are near. I wear strands of sea glass upon my ears because where we are going there will be music. Do the women in your family wrap beeswax around their ring fingers? Keep matchsticks in their collarbones and promise that we will never know darkness. They call this survival, but we pack what we must because what we return to may no longer be ours They call this survival, but the body is a compass and we are each other’s destination. They call this survival, but this ritual of making to leave before knowing where we’re headed, is how we birth futures. They call this survival, but we know better. Where there is a woman there is magic.