Call ~ Audre Lorde

Holy ghost woman

stolen out of your name

Rainbow Serpent
whose faces have been forgotten
Mother  loosen my tongue or adorn me
with a lighter burden
Aido Hwedo is coming.

On worn kitchen stools and tables
we are piecing our weapons together
scraps of different histories
do not let us shatter
any altar
she who scrubs the capitol toilets, listening
is your sister’s youngest daughter
gnarled Harriet’s anointed
you have not been without honor
even the young guerrilla has chosen
yells as she fires into the thicket
Aido Hwedo is coming.

I have written your names on my cheekbone
dreamed your eyes    flesh my epiphany
most ancient goddesses    hear me
I have not forgotten your worship
nor my sisters
nor the sons of my daughters
my children watch for your print
in their labors
and they say Aido Hwedo is coming.

I am a Black woman    turning
mouthing your name as a password
through seductions    self-slaughter
and I believe in the holy ghost
in your flames beyond our vision
blown light through the fingers of women
enduring    warring
sometimes outside your name
we do not choose all our rituals
Thandi Modise    winged girl of Soweto
brought fire back home in the snout of a mortar
and passes the word from her prison cell    whispering
Aido Hwedo is coming.

Rainbow Serpent who must not go
I have ottered up the safety of separations
sung the spirals of power
and what fills the spaces
before power unfolds or flounders
in desirable nonessentials
I am a Black woman    stripped down
and praying
my whole life has been an altar
worth its ending
and I say Aido Hwedo is coming.

I may be a weed in the garden
of women I have loved
who are still
trapped in their season
but even they shriek
as they rip burning gold from their skins
Aido Hwedo is coming.

We are learning by heart
what has never been taught
you are my given    fire-tongued
Oya    Seboulisa    Mawu    Afrekete
and now we are mourning our sisters
lost to the false hush of sorrow
to hardness and hatchets and childbirth
and we are shouting
Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer
Assata Shakur and Yaa Asantewa
my mother and Winnie Mandela are singing
in my throat
the holy ghosts linguist
one iron silence broken
Aido Hwedo is calling
your daughters are named
and conceiving
Mother    loosen my tongue
or adorn me
with a lighter burden
Aido Hwedo is coming.

Aido Hwedo is coming.

Aido Hwedo is coming.

-Audre Lorde (From Our Dead Behind Us)


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