dna is just anotha theory for reincarnation: me, sitting in a burning tree (c. 4063)

Destiny Hemphill

prayer in the name of mama-n-em, creatrix & goddess of ack right

i speak in tongues & all my tongues know all my names/ so i know who ibe most days/ sometimes/ i just forget/ i don’t have perfect memory/ whodoes?/ just a damn good one/ telling you now/ you can trust & believethat shit/ telling you now/ don’t you forget that shit/when you sent forme/ i came for you/ here i stand for you/ here i be for you/ yes i turnedmy back against you/ i had to go sleep in the belly of a whale/ last night ihad a dream/ that i got so bored that/ i began eating the whale’s fleshfrom the in/ side/out/ i sucked on the bones/ & i did not choke/ iswallowed some/ & i spat some out/ when i woke, i wept/ what you willconsume/ what you will swallow down/ what you will be swallowed up by/when you can’t digest/ the thought of your damn self/ i’m not proud of it/not ashamed neither/ admit it/ you can’t handle this shit/ i mean i be sooceanic/ which is to say/ i be siren now/ which is to say/ hey now, whydon’t you come see about me sometimes?/ i mean/ i been singin songs/croonin comets/ gurglin stars/ just for you/ just for you/ but you don’t benoticin/ do you?/ cuz you don’t be listenin/ do you?/ you don’t/ know myname/ you don’t/ know none of my names/ you must’ve forgot who i be/ain’t you?/ remember/ i got a moon for a mouth/ remember/ i got asarcophagus for a throat/ remember/ i inhale & draw ghosts from yournostrils/ they gonna tell me secrets about the dirt/ remember/ i’maseduce the shadows from your eye sockets/ & make them spin around/once/ twice/ thrice/for me/remember/ got fire shut up in my bones/ &saltwater shut up in my lungs/ & got my soul shut up in some flesh/ & gotthis body shut up in a wound/& that wound stays wide open/ wide open/remember/ i leave from & return to the same place/ always/ no/ where/now/ here/ call me nomadwoman/ remember/ i be no/ madwoman/ watchthis/ on the first day/ i be dancing/ & watch this/ on the seventh day/ i bedancing/ i be dancing/ i be dancing/ i just be dancing/ watch me/ i closemy eyes/ & i see this is good/ wash me/ i be good

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Destiny Hemphill is a poet and healer based in Durham, NC. She is a 2017 Callaloo Fellow and a 2016 Amiri Baraka Scholar at Naropa’s Summer Writing Program. Her work has appeared in The Wanderer, Narrative Northeast, and Scalawag. She is the author of Oracle: a Cosmology (Honeysuckle Press, 2018)

Winter Tangerine

Issue 3

Editor in Chief: Yasmin Belkhyr
Managing Editor: Jake Stone
Poetry Editor: Sarah-Maria Medina
Associate Poetry Editor: Kathryn Hargett

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