Orbit: The Asian American Issue
Volume 15:3, Summer 2014
here is the fact: I fuck women and
you hate it, bred your own silly reclaimed blues
so deep all anyone can hear is the silence your
song leaves behind. in this story you are the heart
sick father and me, the fucked up fat daughter you
cannot leave behind, with a mouth so wide and
foul you tremble at what my tongue will create next.
believe me when I say that I have loved you so hard
that I have hated my lovers for you, dreamt of how
I could cut out a new skin where we all live and
only see the father I believed in, and the daughter you wanted.
those days are past and I am left after thirty years breathless
with an ache in my side for more then what our blood has
ever given me. I wont fight anymore, this decay wont live on in me. you
are what I have, love what pieces you can.
to my grandmother
1. what you will leave behind
the beasts you carried on your back like horns-a patchwork of hazy legends that
cant bear fruit.
2. the wedding night, 1958
in a fit of honesty you
tell me about the lilies he brought you dead
from salt, the hours he spent brushing your hair, the way he kneeled in front of you
again and again, cupped your trembling face in his hands, while you wept at this
dark man, wishing
you would die like the flowers if his fingers would only grip harder/if your
but it is sinful to wish for death, and you nearly died in the months before, five
off sick water and stale bread, a harvest of cassava never reaped. the myth told is
granddaddy saw you at 16 standing in kabakaburi, your black hair swirled round
your back, an ecstatic
sigh, and fell in love.
john smith had the same story.
3. the pomeroon
there is a hush born of dark cool moving waters boats that slice in and out the
sloth hanging deep neath
the tree I know my chiny father in dreams he comes when the
other men leave for work
after mummy has gone out hoe over back to dig in the garden
by our mothers graves
only women dig in dirt.
he will hold out his hand and beauty will just explode who else can
do this sleight of hand
a fever of white birds flying over coca cola water congregations of bamboo weaving
out into a cathedral
lilies live in your hand
you made me you made me too
4. the refrain
the story is there is no story.
you and the others can root it out the way
pigs forage in shit. I am 76. was married at
16. I can read the bible, pray, raised
6 children, and gave them what no
one would give me. I wont say what can
go in book, but if you have to write
let them know your granddaddy is a good
father, provider and husband who never disappeared.
Saida Agostini is a a queer Afro-Guyanese poet and activist. She is the Chief Operating Officer for FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, a survivor led artist collective dedicated to resisting rape culture. She is also the founding member of the Rooted Collective, a liberatory gathering of Black LGBTQ people to define, dream, and expand on the ways we heal from oppression. Agostini's work is featured in Origins, the Black Ladies Brunch Collective's anthology, Not Without Our Laughter, The Baltimore Sun, pluck!, and The Little Patuxent Review. Agostini has received support for her poetry and resistance work from Cave Canem, the Leeway Foundation and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. Honors include the award of a 2017 Rubys Artist Project Grant to support the development of her first full-length collection of poems.