a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
paths in a blaze of blossoms. nothing that lived in
guyana can be nursed here, so instead her resistance
is found in the bud of hydrangeas, gladiolas, and a love
of hummingbirds. the most common of flowers
will be tended – during the summer she glories in the
rightness of blooming, dedicating hours to pulling
errant weeds that choke the root.
even in winter she is pledged to nursing life
in the bitterest of Maryland snow, think on the four lime trees
sheltering in our house, by the dining table, forcing
my blustering father to cower at least for a short while
in its branches, neighbors come by to exclaim
at the impossible orchard reared among wood planked walls.
my mummy the stubborn farmer, laughing proudly
by its fruit. requests for advice returned with exacting
directions on wind, sun, and timing, yet when my sister
and I hear her, what we think of are two little girls
reared less gently then this – her a young lonely mother
with sometimes brutal hands, but here I am
crying at the lesson of her bowed back in the garden,
hands dug into a mire of dirt, stubbornly
willing love into life.
Saida Agostini is a queer Afro-Guyanese poet whose work explores the ways that Black folks harness mythology to enter the fantastic. Saida’s poetry can be found in Barrelhouse Magazine, the Black Ladies Brunch Collective’s anthology, Not Without Our Laughter, and other publications. Her first collection of poems, just let the dead in, was a finalist for the Center of African American Poetry & Poetics’ 2020 Book Prize, as well as the New Issues Poetry Prize. She is currently at work on a chapbook exploring the history of Nellie Jackson, a Black woman entrepreneur who operated a brothel for sixty years in Natchez, Mississippi. A Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, Saida has been awarded honors and support for her work by the Watering Hole and Blue Mountain Center, as well as a 2018 Rubys Grant funding travel to Guyana to support the completion of her first manuscript.