The women in the town sing Accompanied by their bare feet Beating the dry ground with Rhythm rehearsed into their genes Their bracelets were handcrafted By the local silversmiths to make Just the right sound when they Throw out their arms to the wind And joy flows back from it The dust clouds stain their white dresses Just as the paint stains their faces And hands for days to come Blue around their eyes to raise worship up to the sky Clay stained Orange around their necks To ease their vocal chords Reds and blacks and whites are there too Can you hear them? Their voices are like hearing bells for the first time. They’re coming this way. They march through the front And make ringlets around So they can all pounce with cat like Agility and softness at strands of hair To adorn your head with a crown Of braids and beads and flowers Today is your day the sun is Out just for you to join the chorus And march up towards the altar Where the rest of the town waits Singing dancing crying Your mother is crying Your father too And now you Tears of joy at what’s to come To this they all cheer this is good news Plentiful rains, happy gods The tears wipe the paint from under your eyes As you kneel before the vessel of our lord Are you ready? You won’t feel it for long Just a sting across your throat And you’re gone They’ll weigh your heart on a scale And flay your skin to stretch it under the sun Aren’t you so proud of what you’ve done? I’m so proud So I’ll dip my fingers in your thick Warm blood and paint my face too Glory be to god Thank you Thank you
About the Author Taylor Mckinnon (she/her) is a writer based in Boston, Massachusetts. She has a lifelong interest in poetry and has studied it in English, Latin, and Ancient Greek as an undergraduate and graduate student. She has been published in a gathering together, the Papeachu Review, and a BLF Press anthology and is forthcoming in Waxing and Waning. A recent graduate of law school, Taylor is interested in the intersections of her identity as a Black woman living with disabilities and how the natural world shapes identity. About the Artist Yasmine Essence Soria is a photographer, writer and editor based in Chicago, where she was born and raised. She is a first-generation Mexican-Honduran-American woman working to pave her own path in the world through her work. She currently attends Columbia College Chicago in pursuit of a Bachelor’s in creative writing with a minor in photography. As a multimedia creator, she creates both photo and writing work that expresses the core aspects of her identity, while describing the world as she perceives it. She works largely in digital and partly in film, favoring still life and portraiture. For more of her photo work, follow her Instagram @yasmine.essence.
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