Looking for My Name by Dorothy Randall Gray

‘What do I call myself?’
It is written in the soil
In the talk of the tree
In the curve of the cloud
In the rock walking beneath the sky

‘What do I call myself?’
She repeated
casting dreadlocks into the sea
Her hair grew to trees
drinking salt for their wounds
Her trees grew to hands
reaching back for their bones
In the midnight water of no names

She gathered the bones in the curl of her hair
Each one a life unspoken
Grandmothers of grandmothers
called out of their names
Before tongue could shape itself
Before cornbread was cooked
and the peas shelled

She gathered the bones
Dreams calcified on ocean’s floor
No grandmother quilt
to piece lives together again
or warm secrets from the marrow

Her hair glistened seaweed and sand
Ancient tears and Olokun’s* silence
holding on like life itself

She cried, ‘What do I call myself’
And the words turned whirlwind
stirring the sea
Until waves moaned like tired feet
Until waters ached but did not answer
She shook her head
until ocean opened its legs
But not her name

She took the space between her legs
and held it chanting
“This is my everlasting
My doorway to infinity
time’s portal repeating itself
If my bones were lost at sea
If my feet turned to earth
If my eyes were taken
and my tongue seized by thunder

If honey was water to my mouth
If birds flew from sight
and roses hid their smell
I would still bring new worlds into this
each child her own planet
With seeds of another

“This is my everlasting”
She repeated
dancing in spirals
Each circle an incantation
Her hair singing seashell
mermaid and crystal
pulling bones into the light
they crumbled to soil beneath her feet
spitting rock and tree onto the earth
The breath of leaves condensing to clouds
casting their chant towards the sky

“What do I call myself ?” she cried
She wrapped herself naked
inside her hair
and slept chrysalis still
waiting for wings

*Olokun – Yoruba deity of the deepest ocean waters and protector of slaves whose bones lie at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

©2022   Dorothy Randall Gray

About Dorothy Randall Gray

Bestselling author of SOUL BETWEEN THE LINES and numerous published works Dorothy is a former LA Poet-in-Residence and ED of Women Writers & Artists Matrix. She is an award-winning artist, evolutionary teacher, Hedgebrook Fellow and former board member of the International Women’s Writing Guild. Dorothy is dedicated to spiritual activism, global healing and transforming the world one word at a time.

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