Lose Your Mother by Hanna Watson

a meditation on Saidiya Hartman’s Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route

The famished way - the cowrie price -

the capillaries in my skin

feed muscles below - and red surface

above when I scrape my knuckles

or squeeze my fingers into

a fist. I can barely

feel the spitting of the dammed blood or the rising tide when I release and break the levee. I am - there is

a lineage in the holes in my bones - like the gaping

mouths of the almost-weaned a child who paws at the air &

presses into bosom because the dotted

sucking breast has dried. I would taste

my own marrow, scrape away the last layer of meat

with my two front teeth to put her back inside of me. But no: what - I gnaw on in my hands

- gnaws me -

is not the scaffolding built by my mother. Yes: is its wreckage - pinned

- penned -

together in her image: torn, muddied

like the banks between the deltas wide and rolled and en - chanting like the river

- and rich - that I may touch, unknowing:

Arkansas :: Niger :: Nile :: Lethe


Hanna Watson is a senior African American & Diaspora Studies major and Creative Writing minor. Her favorite form to write in is spoken word and her favorite person to write for is Jesus, but she’s grateful that others listen in. Outside of writing, Hanna loves hiking, playing guitar, and enjoying good coffee and bread.