a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
when the drowsy sun peeled off my shadow between
the front porch and Ummi sat in her white wicker chair,
swatting mosquitos and sipping sweet tea from a reused
French dressing jar, the ice clinking its soliloquy near wind chimes
before she passed the jar over to me. That summer I would learn how
to make the pie Ummi’s mother taught her how to make without a recipe that wasn’t also etched
between breast bone and ruh.
Ummi had crystal drinking glasses with intricate webs of notched-in lace.
Still like dew, after rain she preferred to pause dusk and drink sweet tea from jars
and how lovely, these quiet migrations of the South that showed up in her reflexes.
In some ways, she had always been Mississippian, her hot water cornbread
grinning back at us three hours into family cook-outs, her cast iron skillet
basking in some gravy she summoned without measurements or occasion
the memory of which, even before they could emerge with their splintering tongues,
greased the tips of our fingers, their hunger-less sheen
the bloom of our lips.
Sagirah Shahid is a Black Muslim poet and occasional prose writer by way of Minneapolis, MN. She is a recipient of a 2015 Loft Mentor Series Award in Poetry, a 2016 Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, a winner of 2017 Minnesota Center For Book Arts mentorship award, and was a participant in a 2018 Twin Cities Media Alliances’ “Our Space is Spoken For” Fellowship. Sagirah’s poetry and short stories have appeared in Mizna, Paper Darts, Winter Tangerine, Juked, AtlanticRock, Blue Minaret, and elsewhere.