Poems & Essays

25 Sep

For Sojourner

General/Column One Response

don’t confine her to a day of the week
or give her the burdens of a childless queen rescued by crocodiles
Auguste said names could slide you into a destiny
choose with abandon –then-
buoyed with the well wishes of rejected sages
a name for our new baby girl
one that lets her raise herself from denial’s pit
free from the weight of having birthed the world

even against the counsel of tradition
in the face of greedy censure, masked and ancient
hungry to consume light
he wanted to take a chance
as much for himself as for you

to place you in a basket
swaddled in name
bound in our faith
that you would float into a grand adventure

we gave you to Isabella,
coal black, six-feet, steaming in her own appetites
because she staked a claim on self
hoisted by the gravity of her own cravings
to announce her arrival

and that is what we wished for you
a bodacious declaration of self
because armed with this
you can traverse the world in love


Octavia McBride-Ahebee’s work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including For Harriet, Raising Lilly Ledbetter; Women Poets Occupy the Workplace, Yellow Medicine, South Philly Fiction, Blackberry Magazine, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Kindling, Damazine; A Literary Journal of the Muslim World, Fingernails Across The Chalkboard: Poetry And Prose on HIV/AIDS From the Black Diaspora, Under Our Skin: Literature of Breast Cancer, Sea Breeze- A Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writing, The Journal of the National Medical Association, Art in Medicine Section, International Quarterly; Faces of the Americas and the Beloit Poetry Journal. Her poetry collections include Assuming Voices and Where My Birthmark Dances. 

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1 Comment

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  1. sara

    October 31, 2015 at 12:13 am

    i do like the muscle in this poem, especially the last verse.


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