Walking the Line


My mother

Sings in a tongue I knew but

Along this journey 

Of walking the line between 

One too many worlds 

Have forgotten

Its hold on me 

Never fading


Always running from 

My lips when I try to curl



It into words


Some things I remember


When I open my mouth 

Instead of the sounds of 

Calabash drums and amala

On a humid summer night

The feelings that pour out are that

Of a culture I know but do not possess

A life I’m living but don’t understand


There’s a world I was born into but never saw

A world of dancing and war

A world of curses and song

Half my heart is with them

Across the sea and a little more

But my soul is here

With grilled cheese and chilled watermelon

Coca-cola and frosted cake



I’ll know where I belong



Maami – mother

Calabash – a bowl for drinking water and sometimes decoration

Amala – a flour mixed into water to create food with a mashed potato consistency