mango soul

by Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene 

home where the sound of my name and the sound of God are the same
where I know if I forget my own rhythm, spirits besides me will move with me
hips/heartbeats/breath
until my bones move in step
to home where invocations flow consistent and instinctive like eyelids

my spirit stretched across geography,
the topography of my soul
composed of Manhattan high rises higher than horizons,
Brooklyn bodegas that play Fela,
Sapele plantain trees taller than my daddy’s house
okadas that zig zag through traffic with reckless precision

these cultural borders I African dance on
splash clotheslines across sky
that hold up pink panties,
ripped jeans,
turquoise head wraps
with poems like this silkscreened onto them

my passport american/my citizenship dual
even when called american
by people who don’t know the sizzle of raw, ripe plantain hitting heated oil
child of Naija even when called american
by people who know how to pound banga in mortar and pestle
until sweat beads and sprints down foreheads and cheeks

the atlantic ocean as familiar to me as my bathwater
the liquid bridge between home
and home
me: concrete jungle dream weaver
Nigerian sunshine-flavored kiss giver
Delta dyke homesick for sizzling red soil
concrete throbbing with a million memories I forgot I had

my nights are filled with Sapele crickets & Brooklyn police sirens
suya
& red velvet cake
akara
& mac & cheese

mango soul

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