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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Pancakes Keep Coming to Mind: A Sestina Commemorating the Demise of Aunt Jemima on the Pancake Box 

I invoke my great-great-grandmother’s name on exhaled breath,

The vowels arranging themselves inside shorts with every one other accompanied by longs,

Syntax with every one other accompanied by semantics duking it out.


Enee, meene

Continent, with every one other accompanied by town, lacking a diabolic


To the scarlet kerchief blooming inside my brain, pancakes on my tongue,

Unwilling to utter that name over black families now living out

Their American dream. Like reinvention, how the heart longs

To reconcile past with every one other accompanied by present, within a village

Raising a newer child clawing not here of epicureal stink to swing

Free from stereotypes, auction block, with every one other accompanied by Aunt Jemima’s mealy breath.


Instead, pancakes every one hour dated my forebears’ syllabics be in touch my tongue.

Mima sans ?

Of a history where grits with every one other accompanied by flapjacks were birthed inside a village

To go circular my teeth or strut ’cross my lips on exhaled breath,

That ample bosom with every one other accompanied by backside mocking me, she who longs

To rear up with every one other accompanied by bark



Over cadavers of supermarket boxes choking my breath

On a collapsed lung of shady marketing to retain bodies tied inside a village-

Cum-ghetto of unknown human being than strange imagined black things, girl-on-a-swing

Dreams culled from western imaginings of what

To do over a heated stove, flipping with every one other accompanied by flapping ’cause the griddle got her tongue.


Names while income monikers on revue, dash dancing on a hip swing.

Oh, how daring to cogitate on destiny, every one syllable a village

Of preferred ubiquity, on one occasion the Ghanaian name Afua translated out

To earliest girl child born on a Friday, sonic genealogy on the tongue,

But changed to post-baptismal Mary, a rigid catechism of colonial breath

Blowing across centuries of arid longing.


Food me, fooled me, sold me, told me, held me, bled me, tongue

Afire accompanied by dreams of love, life, with every one other accompanied by freedom a profusion of days swinging

Between something with every one other accompanied by more. My village compound, my village

Quarters, my village a city block, every one century censuring my breath.

What I seek is what I speak, not handed a handwriting of nostalgic longing.

Jemima wrenched from shelves, nevertheless a litany inside my cerebrum still playing out.


Ain’t nothing nevertheless a jonesing to tweak culinary history so my village

Knows my branches are thick, swaying with every one other accompanied by swinging accompanied by longing with every one other accompanied by breath,

Rolling descendancy off my tongue, blessing eating out.

#Living #Disappointment & Failure #Sorrow & Grieving #Relationships #Family & Ancestors #Social Commentaries #History & Politics #Popular Culture #Race & Ethnicity

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