for Mama Chola, Mami Wata, Yemaya and Oshun
My names often escape me but the dreams have stayed: Three women at the wound & I am on the shore of it. In this recurring, insistent dream, daybreak throngs the landscape & I am left behind on craggy hem as silt sputters & waters pulse. First dawn fills the woods outside, a widening dehiscence glistens as alluvium shifts & the river surges. Three women, the mothers, as I call them, gleam inside the broad wound folding as buoyant geometry into one another. The mothers beckon: Meet yourself. I refuse. I fear unknown weather or waves as their voices camber beams of helices. Water holds danger, epigenetic memory, & I refuse the murky, shallow currents. The mothers insist no harm this time: No ships of history or holds in this river. Water’s the cure for water’s wounding. They seem certain of safety’s guarantee, but there are other means of knowing which injuries make me legible to myself. Then, those water mothers urge: Witch, we are the only means of knowing your names that often escape you.