Finding Home

by Earthlyn Marselean Manuel mb37-Finding1

Enchanted are the souls of Africans whose bloody feet cracked the seashells that lay beneath the sand on the seashores of my beginnings. I call for the healing of those feet in me and in those around me, breathing wind a million years old, left in the thicket of trees and foul marshes. Come my ancestors to the table where I eat rice that you have given me. Come feel the cotton clothes I wear because of the crops you harvested. Come let me kiss your hands that swelled long after sunset each day. If only all that you loved and lost came back from the heavens, back from beneath the sea.

Walking sacred land where you withered and rose again despite the horror, I give honor, thanking you for surviving my beginnings, for the world that shares in the abundance created by you. We must remember you stained the sand that washes beneath our feet, pushing us deeper into it, turning us into purple sand dunes in your honor.

I lost sight of home, the trees planted in my name, ceremonies, sight of waterfalls; and I have lost the smell of certain flowers and fruits. Rage stays a memory of you on this planet, a memory that will not pain us forever.

And now I’m finding home, close to the sacred earth your bones have settled, nestled close to each breath. I climbed the heavens and saw you there; your face alights from resting. Where the sea delivered you to this land is where you are too. I move on in your honor, your stories unburied, your spirit alive in everything.

I go now speaking your names, finding home in the way I walk across the street. Being so close to home that one day, someone will yell out to me, “Hey this is not Africa.” And I will respond, “It certainly isn’t.”

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