I’ve always known too much, born
adherent I entered the world with a shaving
of my mother’s hippocampus curving
against my palm. I urge / I warn / I caution:
it’s dying, it’s gasping for water.
This is a family of burdened
women. These bodies won’t make it
to 30. This is the beginning of genealogy,
of lineage, of a door with a fire on the other
side, the handle incandesced.
On her 30th birthday, we avoid the heat.
She always said it was coming:
a shapeless what / it / or thing
to sweep her away. The quick lick
of a hurricane. A scratch of skin
on rusted nail. A botched explosion
that only tears the house into thirds.
We didn’t know the flood
had already come – an echo of gusting
wind left in the walls.
I knew nothing would happen when I turned
30, but still I waited for a curse to take
hold of my throat. I waited for her
to ring from the grave I dug
with my own hands. For a new
moon to summon / raise the fall of her
voice. How else can I say wait?
How long will it take my brain
to wither at its base?
Each dark room holds a dying flare.
Kiyanna Hill is a Black writer. She is left-handed. Her work can be found in Porter House Review, Brave New Voices, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook “A Damned House and Us In It” is forthcoming from Variant Literature.