Naming Ceremony

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

for Jerry Ward, Jr.

Shallow curve of the land
between master and owned
I have dismissed you until I come
upon kin Since time my jaws
have collected accusations
from memory No logic
grinding my teeth I have not
been sold The telling of the coppers
between fingers (Skin)
I think that I have known freedom
This old story and yet I grieve
accented by our home
Your line reaching back
while I search for the cloth
of our mother’s bodice
My line snapped My mind
flying home at Ibo Landing
I think that I have known liberty in
the caverns I have lived in
Valley of Senegambia
Coast of Slaves Gold Ivory
(Loss) The mud of the Bights
Benin Listen to the talk
beaten by a man and his apprentice
a mortgaged youth My body
lightened mongreled currency
Biafra beaten Hear me
beaten down blood free
unclaimed by garbled deity
My father’s call tricks
the music of stopped ears
The flesh of the young men is burning
One of us is Cain the gardener
of perfidy unblessed by lineage
the flesh of the young men is aglow

Last updated November 09, 2022