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.