“Is this the way we’ll be forgotten?”

illustration of a trail of ants coming out of long grass
Art by https://linktr.ee/kristinapaints

“Not Forgotten”

by Toi Derricotte (1941-)

I love the way the black ants use their dead.
They carry them off like warriors on their steel
backs. They spend hours struggling, lifting,
dragging (it is not grisly as it would be for us,
to carry them back to be eaten),
so that every part will be of service. I think of
my husband at his father’s grave—
the grass had closed
over the headstone, and the name had disappeared. He took out
his pocket knife and cut the grass away, he swept it
with his handkerchief to make it clear. “Is this the way
we’ll be forgotten?” And he bent down over the grave and wept.

from Tender

Together we’ll change the sheets

creative illustration of bone and marrow
Art by Kristina Closs

“Spell for the End of Grief”

by Amie Whittemore

No incantations, no rosemary and statice,
no keening women in grim dresses.
No cauldrons, no candles, no hickory wands.
No honey and chocolate, no sticky buns.
No peonies and carnations, no handkerchiefs.
No dark and lusty liaisons.

Only you and me to see it out.
Sweet self, let me wash your toes,
brush your hair, let me rock you gently.
Together we’ll change the sheets
and I’ll pull you to me, little spoon.
You be the marrow, I’ll be the bone.

In 1977 a bullet turned my brother into dust

silhouette of two women smoking, joined by a bird in the middle whose wings have a string that touches the two woman's hearts
Art by Kristina Closs

Thinking with a heavy heart of the Black lives tragically lost to racial injustice not just this weekend and during this turbulent past year but throughout history. Today I share a breathtaking poem in every sense of the word by Khadijah Queen.

“I Have a Method of Letting Go”

Asthmatic child in a house full of smokers, I crawled once
under toxic clouds to find my mother

I was so brave I almost died, or desperate

I wanted her more than breath
I was so small & she could sing
anything alive, almost

She didn’t really know, doesn’t know now—

She is familiar with duty & made me so
I can’t live on that loss

In 1977 a bullet turned my brother into dust
His 18 years here, an invisible talisman we hold in our callous living

Sometimes I think my mother smoked to pretend to breathe him in

from Anodyne