"Shea Butter Manifesto" by Eve L. Ewing
We, the forgotten Delta people,
the dry riverbed people,
hair calling always for rain,
skin turned skyward wishing for clouds,
we stand for blood.
We kneel for water.
For oil, we lay down,
fingers spread, as if in this way
we might skate across the yellow clay of it all
like lagoon insects.
So it is written:
heal yourself, baby.
With the tree and the touch, with the turmeric.
In this world, nothing brittle prevails,
so in this world, grease is a compliment,
no, it’s a weapon,
no, it’s a dream you had, where it was cold
and your mother, seeing the threat of gray at your elbows
and knowing that ash is the language of the dead
knelt, and put her hands on your face like this
and anointed you a protected child, a hot iron in a place of frost.
Recall this, and
fear no thickness.
Be resurrected, glistening in the story of you.