Ekphrasis for “Gathering of Women” by Tamara Adams

            I dream of celebrations
an outdoor wedding in the spring,
And     running barefoot in my wedding dress,
Sunflowers And Daisies hanging from mason jars on Sycamores,
(the only time life has been beautiful when suspended by a branch)
And     my mother is nineteen again,
all penciled eyebrow And brown lip-liner,
all cigarette smoke And navy blue flannel,
And     my great-grandmothers are here again,
all young And sap-smile,
all proud enamel,        all busied over me
with their hands in my hair,
pulling the strands And saying:
            This is the Cherokee,              And This is the Blackfoot,                   This is the Aztec,                     And This, the Georgia Peach,
until my head was a map of braids,                crown of freedom,                  to be feminine And
unafraid in my grandmomma’s arms,            big, black women,               And no one spoke
hushed here,                      all black woman cacophony,
And     my great aunt smiled And pulled amber from the gap in her teeth,
an heirloom,
And     there were hands on my belly until a heartbeat was pulled beneath the fingertips,
And     someone said,             Your baby is dancing
And     so was I,
            were we,
And     everything that spilled from my mouth was laughter And song.
                        Light,
                        Love
Endures,          Forgives,         Rebirths.
My ancestors prayed for me by name. So I am fluent in love.
to love as resistance or to love as defense or to love without loving against anything at all or to
love because it is hopeful and hope is the closest thing I have for religion or to love for everyone
who is gone and for everyone who will ever be or to love because I deserve.


Cheyenne Avila is a Black and Mexican poet and spoken word artist from Southern California. She has three cats and a perpetually messy room. She is a chillona who hopes to use poetry to help marginalized people heal and tell their stories.

Photo credit: J. Carter

Photo credit: J. Carter