a saloon of divine femininity
a symphony of mirrored divinity
praise allah hail mary
for the woman’s sultry skin, almond eyes and gift of kin
the holy trinity
we fill every room carrying ancestors’ heirlooms
heavy on our long necks
heavy as our lineage’s riches

count our wisdom in every scar and stretch mark
a lifetime won’t be enough time to count them all
i’ve inherited wisdom in the women before me, next to me, and after me
skilfully disguised behind henna, kohl, and threaded brows
teatime is our classroom where our lessons

are shared poetry and wisdom is a passed down journal
reading cups where destiny is fortuned
my destiny is on the right path
for it is maktub

diaspora sisters gather round jebena
kissing cheek to cheek
henna-dipped fingers sipping from sinis
as we share the latest
reading the bottom of cups
our portal to life
will i honor my mother and ever be a wife
or honor thy self and fulfil my own destiny
how will mother earth choose my life

fortunes blended into coffee grinds
wide mouths gaping below wide almond eyes
waiting for ancestral signs
until the diaspora rises and returns home
we shall bloom soon in full moon
waiting for ancestral guidance

in solitude we fear
these strange spirits
these strange spaces
who are we becoming
what has become of us
when we do not feel from here
when we do not feel from there

our gold jewels and black tattoos
our war-stricken oil and gold
our silk kaftans and habesha kemis
our prophetic eyes and textured hair
our honey-dipped skin and wide hips
our threaded brows and henna palms
deep creases on palms carry legacies of our women
dark eyes and heavy lashes bat back in the mirror
summon their presence
seek ancestral powers

respect to the mother queens
i call to you
kandake and nefertiti and nandi and moremi
makeda and yaa asantewaa and hatshepsut and aminatu
djamila and asiyah and khadija and fatima

intone my fortune
chant my destiny

[ayna ana ayna ana] أين أنا أين أنا
where am i
where am i

[min ana min ana] من أنا من أنا
who am i
who am i

[neesa beladi neesa beladi] نساء بلدي نساء بلدي
women of my land
women of my land

seas, lands, and generations apart
we will forever be diaspora sisters














Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash