From the House of Yemanjá

By Audre Lorde 1934–1992 Audre Lorde
My mother had two faces and a frying pot   
where she cooked up her daughters
into girls
before she fixed our dinner.
My mother had two faces
and a broken pot
where she hid out a perfect daughter   
who was not me
I am the sun and moon and forever hungry   
for her eyes.

I bear two women upon my back   
one dark and rich and hidden
in the ivory hungers of the other   
mother
pale as a witch
yet steady and familiar
brings me bread and terror
in my sleep
her breasts are huge exciting anchors   
in the midnight storm.

All this has been
before
in my mother's bed
time has no sense
I have no brothers
and my sisters are cruel.

Mother I need
mother I need
mother I need your blackness now   
as the august earth needs rain.   
I am

the sun and moon and forever hungry   
the sharpened edge
where day and night shall meet
and not be
one.

Audre Lorde, “From the House of Yemanjá” from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Copyright © 1997 by Audre Lorde. Reprinted with the permission of Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., www.nortonpoets.com.

Source: The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1997)

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Poet Audre Lorde 1934–1992

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Home Life, Youth, Parenthood, Living, Relationships

Holidays Mother's Day

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Audre  Lorde

Biography

A self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing the injustices of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Her poetry, and “indeed all of her writing,” according to contributor Joan Martin in Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation, “rings with passion, sincerity, perception, and depth of feeling.” Concerned with modern . . .

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SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Home Life, Youth, Parenthood, Living, Relationships

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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