cradle

Nailah Mathews

my grandmother lived in a lagoon of silt
between all nine of the nine middle west winds.
this was a woman who ate stone plums for pleasure
who made mosaics from bonespurs and vomit, who had
enough hands to throw all her husbands down the stairs
at once.
my mother was born east of magic,
spoke only in verbs until she became a woman
and when that moon came, every tree bent a branch
to drop its fruit into her hand.
i was born south of no-man’s land ten minutes
before the twitching hour.
my mother touched a screw on the railroad tracks
forty-five days before she got fat in the belly and
it still did not protect her from me.
her granddaughter is a keloid scar on my retina
she has electric cheekbones, she is vulpine at the dinner table
she walks in phalanx formation.
she is the explicable miracle of girlhood savagery
making potions, flaying god at her leisure.

Nailah Mathews is a nonbinary Black poet to whom books and black lives matter, who aspires to be as kind to every stranger as they would be to a lost child. Their piece "hanlon’s razor" will appear in Tilde~A Literary Journal’s Issue V.

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