Country of Water

I know who I am because I believe it

The breath in my chest
Insistent in its choice

The skin that I’m in
The bones and blood and veins
It carries like a promise

          Have you witnessed the ocean

Moving with so much gust and life
Have you witnessed the river
Still waters bubbling the rebirth of school

           Have you witnessed your body

Its own country of water
Moving against the tide of a world
So heartbreaking      it’s forgotten its own voice

Be still friend
Be still
Be kind to yourself in the gift of stillness

I know who I am because I believe it
I know
I know
Who I
Who I
In three’s we will come
A drip of water moving against a boulder
Water slow and steady can turn rock
Into a pebble
Like anxiety
Like self-doubt
Until gone
Let your love for yourself be the water
Be the rise
Be the mist
Let you be

I know who I am because I believe it
I believe I am my mother’s daughter
I believe I am my grandmother’s prayers
I believe I am my great-grandmother’s backbone revealed

I am I am because I believe so
I am because a woman believed in me
What a continent I became
What a country of water I be
I flow and fluid and rise and ebb and I believe in me

           I am not wrong
I am wronged

In this skin I’ve reclaimed
From this trap of this country’s tourniquet
Only to find the sweet solace is a river bed
Its mud beckons me closer to its silt
Small fish and forgotten glass unearth themselves
Like baby teeth
Only one can cut into flesh purposely
Only one does not know what it is capable of

I believe in the air as much as I believe in the fire
I believe in the fire as much as the water consumes
I believe in a higher source
Energetic and wise
I believe in my ability to thrive

This body
        This body is a good thing

Turning two miles walked over a bridge into a family’s meal
Creating poems that become cashier’s checks
Dentist bills and rent
I’ve three holes in my teeth
And a nation that pretends I didn’t almost die for it to survive

I am I am still here still here
I am still here and like the ocean, full of salt and shells
Full of ship remnants and noble ones
I bleed and the sand grieves
I be because someone survived for me to be here

Breathing this almost air
Marching for cleaner belongings
My front seat beneath the deadening stars
Is still a seat
Is still a ground
Is still a home that I can pronounce my given name
To write amongst the forgotten names
The taken and the ignored
But today

            There are no tombstones

There is no true death

Only life
Only life
Only a song of the living
Maybe even a belief system
With water as its minister

            I am water

I dive into my own currents
I dress my dreams in the satin breath
Of my ancestors

I know
I know
I know who I am
I know who I am because I believe it

Copyright © Mahogany Browne. Used with permission of the author.