Moon for Aisha

Kamilah Aisha  Moon

for Kamilah Aisha Moon, with a line after Cornelius Eady’s 'Gratitude'
- by Aracelis Girmay

Dear Aisha,
I mean to be writing you
a birthday letter, though it’s not
September, the winter already
nearing, the bareness
of trees, their weightlessness,
their gestures —
grace or grief. The windows
of buildings all shining early, lit with light,
& I am only ten & riding
all of my horses home,
still sisterless, wanting sisters.

You do not know me yet.
In fact, we are years away
from that life. But I am thankful
for some inexplicable thing,
let’s call it “freedom,” or “night,” the terror
& glee of being outside late, after dark,
my mother’s voice shouting
for me beneath stars
which, I learned in school,
are suddenly not so different
from the small salt of fathers, & gratitude
for that, & for the red house of
your mother’s blood,
& then, you, all nearly grown,
all long-legged laughter,
already knowing all the songs
& all the dances,
not my friend, yet,
but, somehow — Out There.

In one version of our lives,
it is November.
Through a window I see
one of our elders is
a black eye of a woman, is
a thinker, & magnificent. At a desk,
she builds her house with her hands,
with paper, wood & clay, the years of light
& the years of dark. She sees oblivion
& turns, crowns her head,
instead, with flowers,
the upper & the lower worlds.
Lightning streaks the black mind
of her hair, she leaves
it there, then cleans the house
with laughter, dances broadly
in each room, a pirouette,
a wop. Out of doors, she dares to wear
the house key from a silver hoop recalling
the moon, the gleaming syllable: of
a planet dark with fires & time.
She is glorious, isn’t she?
It is always her birthday.
She has always lived
to tell a part
of the story of the world,
what happened here.

If not a moon, what can
we bring this woman who
walks ahead? For whom
you were named,
& whose name has been
added to by you
whose language crowns
the dark field of what has
been hushed, of what is
beautiful & black, & blue.

Last updated December 12, 2022