Nighttime Rituals

Issue No. 4: Black maternal health
words - Ayanna Nataki


In warm water,
soft, soapy,
herbal infused,
discovering toes,
this little person,
I cleanse.

I wash away a day
of curiosity,
of play,
of tears,
of fears,
and drench him in wet crystals
falling from eyelashes
and ears,
from rotund cheeks,
and double chins.

In this shallow stream
he glistens,
he glows,
he smiles from love
and speaks of rivers
in the deep weighty tones
of Naija,
just as his father
and his father's father
and all the fathers from whom
he descends.

Each night,
my Sun shines
as he is bathed
in an eternal flow
of remembrance.