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From the House of Yemanjá

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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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From the House of Yemanjá

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