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By Marlanda Dekine

A wishbone branch falls
from my Grandma Thelma’s oak
for me.

What do you know about magic? e1 asks.

E bends e old body down, turns
the wishbone branch into
a cross, places it around my neck.
I am strapped at the Black River’s right shoulder,
remembering my Grandpa Mose never wore anything
but church.

My purple head begins to feel
cold as clergy, parched. I ask for water.
E gives me water and rice, says to repeat
after em:

           I am fly from nature. Nature fly. I am fly from

           nature.             Nature

           fly. I am fly from nature.             Nature

           fly. I am fly

           from nature. Nature fly. I am

           fly from nature. Nature fly.             I am fly from nature. Nature fly.

           Ah, I get it! It’s an affirmation, I say

                                            and e laughs in windoceansongs.

E whispers, Do not be trapped by language.

E voice begins to beat my chest
cavity in rhythm, chaff threshed from grain,
           separating me from need.

I thought I’d snapped             that wishbone branch myself. No.

                      I am fly from nature. Nature fly.

At dusk,
gleaming marigolds gathered
beneath my feet, singing:

We were stolen             shipped across the Atlantic

             invasive is a word             I heard

stolen             thrash thrash thrash             and we speak in bloom

1   In Gullah-Geechee language, “e/em” are gender-neutral pronouns.↩︎

Source: Poetry (June 2021)

  • Living
  • Relationships
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Marlanda Dekine
Marlanda Dekine-Sapient Soul (she/her/they/them) is a poet from Plantersville, South Carolina. She is the author & recording artist of i am from a punch & a kiss. Soul is a 2021 Tin House Own Path Scholar. See More By This Poet

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