holy war

By JORDAN HONEYBLUE

 

      for the black women who died for motherhood

how long has my womb ached
                  to carry half of my laugh gently

set in the upside-down rainbow stretch
                  of their father’s smile? he is every color

bent into black to tell
      a story that light cannot read.

he that deep like the first organ
                  blossoming to beat in embryos

that may die before becoming babies
                  or i may hurry into ghost before holding

their weight and catching their hollering
                  breaths and falling rivers on my breast.

i would die if i died
                  and couldn’t hold my child.

what is more whole than 100?
                  243? 243 more ash piles of black mothers

whose crackling rose petal wombs
      stain inner walls of urns and mausoleum

chambers because their pain was
      not white enough so they died

twice by the hands of OB/GYNs
      and nurses who refused to treat them

like the loose-leaf paper chain
                  of women pushing four doors down

the hall. why should i meet
                  ancestorship before motherhood,

when black be so deep
                  our children can’t be 50/50?

we birth a battalion in one
      black body then bleed out,

for our mothers to bury us
      and raise us again by a new name.

 

 

Jordan Honeyblue is a writer from Baltimore, Maryland. She received her BA from Morgan State University in 2018 and her MFA in creative writing from the University of Kentucky in 2021. Currently, she runs her own tutoring business, jh tutors. Jordan is also a 2021–2022 Antiracist Science Education Research Fellow for LabXchange, an online science learning platform created by Harvard University. Her poetry has also appeared or is forthcoming in the New Orleans Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Inverted Syntax.

[Purchase Issue 23 here.]

holy war

Related Posts

Panics book cover

The Headless Man

BARBARA MOLINARD
The woman took a seat on the bench. She was wearing a little black dress and a coat that was also black, brightened up with a pale blue scarf around her neck. Long blond hair framed her rather beautiful face, which her eyes, drowned in dream, bestowed with a unique absence.

Mónica Gomery

Poetry as Homeland: An Interview with Mónica Gomery

MÓNICA GOMERY
I’m a person who’s generally in love with the world, but it’s a complicated love, best embodied by the Hebrew word yirah, meaning both awe and fear. The two work in tandem––it’s the feeling of being filled to the brim with both wonder and heartbreak.