Space & Time
My body knows a day by its
hormones. If, for instance, I
miss a pill, perhaps a child. If
I swallow a drug too late, my
body shivers until a new sun
demands stillness. If I count
backwards from the last day I
relieved myself of bloody
homemaking, I can picture
my position in the universe.
How special is that? My body
the map-keeper, counter of
sands, pulsing watch hand,
the fat wand of a compass. I
can walk into an unfamiliar
building and point toward
Elm Street. I can find home
from anywhere, anywhere.
I’m confident in the little bit
of iron in my blood. And yes,
I know that isn’t how
magnets work. I am faithful
nonetheless. And so, I think I
cannot die alone. My flesh,
my mind, they are working
toward forever with
somebody. I know. My body
is counting down to joy. I
feel. Slowly orienting me
toward the sun or a pole or
whatever the metaphor is
this morning. & space & time
& space & time & space &
time are pink ribbons
wrapped around the anterior
lobe. I could pull but I trust
my own silk.
The Dark Shock of Hair
For over a week, nothing has grown.
Not cotton, not wool.
Something coarser vanished
from my pussy.
My esthetician clears the whole plantation
and the earth has blood. She extracts
what I can’t bear to pick myself.
From beneath the chocolate wax,
creeping over the expanse
of my mons pubis, the hair is pulled
deftly from its roots. The waxist’s
nimble fingers and mouthful
of Russian accent make the process
almost dream-like in the harmony of its stinging.
The waxist tells me the worst is over.
Her hands are the opposite of clinical
and that helps me relax.
My pubic hair has never made me uncomfortable,
per se. There was enough to be ashamed of, my
skin, its color, its texture, the hair
on my head screaming towards the walls
instead of the floor. But my vulva named herself.
I was taught of her vulgarity,
her foul mouth and everything ugly
that could happen if I was bad to her.
Not enough to be ashamed. Nothing
about her curls and how to care for them.
My first rug, a cotton-pool
thin enough to see the skin through
and softer than anything I’d ever produced.
I pet her with my thumb, with the backs
of my fingers, in bed, in the shower, in the back of the bus.
Not arousing but
Not a shock at all but rather the gentlest thrust
of womanhood gifted
from beneath my skin.
A trick candle. A sun shower.
The lovers will lap
from whichever pool flows freest.
Give them a beach full of sand
and they will still come
for the warmth. To run their fingers
through the grains and watch
the black fall.
I learn early to set the table
before inviting a man to feast.
But I, too, learn of the safety of merkins
and bless my own good hair.
I miss the friction of each stroke
as the curls catch my knuckles
and nails. Every six weeks,
a prescribed burn. I think this
is having control over my body,
honoring the baldness and the bush
in ways no one taught me to do.
We make our own ceremonies,
traditions, sacrifices of blood
and fur. My own little lamb
calling me sister and mother
I love her too.
I wait for her
to capture me
Kassidi Jones a poet representing Connecticut (begrudgingly). She is pursuing her Ph.D. in English and African American Studies at Yale. A 2017 Callaloo fellow and a self-proclaimed Scrabble master, Kassidi is an alumna of the Excelano Project, UPenn’s premier spoken word poetry group. Her work can be found in Black Napkin Press and Winter Tangerine, and on her website: www.kassidijones.com.