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)