Sea foam the color of breast milk is frothing up thick like honey Salt crystals are dancing across my skin while the cold ocean water Wraps itself around my ankles and begins to slowly rise reaching the ‘not-quite-there’ gap of my thighs
The bigness of it all usually overwhelms and dwarfs me
I’m a big girl Chocolate, broad shouldered, and stout But the largeness of this world often leaves me feeling small and without
But today, Standing in the darkness, I feel at home and tall Mama swam up out of those waters Proud and Black with tears running blue
She looked to me and sang melodically, but fiercely, “Here, Baby Girl, is a Crown of seashells and Pearls for you. Now tuck back those shoulders and stand up straight. Kick up your heals and roll your thighs. Never let them forget just who is the prize. You will birth their sons and make great their daughters. You will heal their sick hearts with this here water. You will swallow your pride as I will make you whole. You will be shrouded in blue but dusted with gold. Cut free your sins and dance through the night because in the twirl of your skirt, the rumble of your laugh, the pitch of your screams and the stealth of your or dance, will make you great and show you the path to my kingdom. Welcome home, at very long last.”
I hunched over again and let wash over me, the water I let out a long cry I am truly my mother’s sacred daughter
Haughty and fierce Bold and indignant Fiercely loyal And protective of my children
I love you Iya You have shown me the way At last I am home In the blue with you
Vast and safe and sacred and old
Forever will I give praise to you.
I am a crowned Priestess of Yemaya in the Lucumí tradition. This poem is about a deeply personal experience that I had visiting the ocean right before initiating as a priest.