They’ll Ask You Where It Hurts the Most
Blessed be the bitterness
at your core, that quiet light
growing quieter still,
like the dull moan that escapes
your lips while you dream.
They’ll ask you, child,
what you know of suffering.
They’ll ask you where it hurts
the most, when the pain changes
like wavelengths of light
in the evening sky, when the cries
of the ancestors ring out to you
from the ocean, when their words
vibrate in your diaphragm
like a listless, queenless hive.
You may forever, child,
feel a type of way, but you
must get up every morning and watch
the sun rise from the ocean.
Remember to love your lover,
remember the goodness
and righteousness of deep red
against her skin, the color of the ocean
on her toenails. Remember the ancestors
who praised the gods at the sight of land.
One day, child, you will join
them, on a beach in Accra,
where you will pour out libations
for those who have yet to come.
Until then, stand with your arms
stretched toward the sky. And though
termites may eat you from within,
pray to grow into a wise, old tree,
for the dignity to praise alone
the sun and rains. Pray to become
a garden, to distinguish what nourishes
us from what is keeping us alive.