From: Incantation: Memory of Water

Brandon Wint

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Tonight, a strand of my great-grandmother’s hair

sashes an amber beer bottle discarded by a tourist.

 

A white thread of my grandmother’s baptismal robe

is a bangle on a wrist of kelp

waving its arm on St. Phillip’s eastern coast.

 

The ocean does not hunger

but its mouths gape and hold, like errant flecks

of salt, my long-travelled molecules:

 

I am everywhere the water has been.

 

It is my skin, too, my great-grandmother washed

and scrubbed with smooth stones

until it gathered the softness of zinnia petals, the sun lust

of bougainvillea vining.

 

With her name, Christina Hayes,

I could comb through the birth records of her small country,

lift sun-gashed leaflets of fading ink

from archival folders.

 

But I crave my palm open in the ocean mouth

from which her children were fed,

the prosody of a wave

returning her extinguished pulse,

for a moment, to the blood she made.

Brandon Wint, excerpt from "Incantation: Memory of Water". Copyright © Brandon Wint 2020. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: Divine Animals (Write Bloody North, 2020)