- First-Person Prayer for Reclaiming the Body
i have made myself clean:
in the ocean, i washed my feet with all the green-blue salt & i washed my hair with with body-warmed honey;
i rubbed my legs with rosehip oil, my teeth with cracked charcoal & i powdered myself with crushed buds of rosemary and lavender.
i have made myself clean and cannibal now
only for how sweet i taste, only for my black sugar body,
how i lick it from my fingers, how it makes my mouth
how it makes my own name sparkle in between my teeth
Accompaniment—Part of the function of poetry, I think, is about reclamation: the reclaiming of both our language(s) and our experience(s) as Black women in Black bodies, particularly when those bodies are queered and sexed and sexualized in certain ways. I wrote this poem almost as an ode to self-care with attention to how part of that process for me is being able to recognize my body as clean, as natural, as delicious. I wanted to note how that, in recognizing the beauty of the body, [End Page 1] our names become our own, linking back to June Jordan’s words in her “Poem About My Rights.” I wanted the poem to be about the body and its sparkle, the beauty and the sweetness of it all as well as it being about an infinite and intimate connection to the world around us. [End Page 2]
Mick Powell (she/her) is a queer, black, fat, femme, feminist poet who likes revolutionary acts of resistance. She is currently an MFA poetry candidate at Southern Connecticut State University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, Crab Fat Magazine, two anthologies focusing on black feminisms and Beyoncé, and others. Mick enjoys good onion rings, smooth hip hop instrumentals, and loving on her loved ones.