A deep breath
Before the storm came, before poverty and suspicion scattered the families like damp seed, an old woman never had to live alone and cook for herself, never had to braid her own hair, thread her own needles long after her good sight gone, the nerves gripping her fingers til they shake, never had to sit and listen to her silence, the only company her breath. Then, an old woman had kin, got a chance to spread their names around, the syllables resting in her mouth like tender roots.
Today my head hurt so, I can barely think straight, but what do I know is that one of my dearest friends is grieving and ain't no words to say but that we love you and our prayers are with you. So many spirits in transition now, and the passing is often hard for the seed left behind. It's times like this when clasping the hands that make us feel like home, reaching out to whatever community we call family, is all we can do. So today, please take a small moment to clasp hands with someone you love, say they name with pleasure, spread the syllables all 'round your tongue, gentle as soft roots, whether they are near or far.
I'm going to go hug my babies and get some fresh air for this ache. Been staring at a screen all day, working on this novel, almost forgot I had lungs to breathe. Promise to come back after a spell with some other news on some other journeying: Sekou Sundiata's Blessing the Boats solo performance at the Apollo, griot Sotigui Kouyate in Peter Brooks' Tierno Bokar at Barnard, and my new Poets & Writers women's workshop in Clearview where the eldest writer is 85.