treading water

By 
Adebe DeRango-Adem

every treasure chest breathes heavy,
every black pearl understands
the uncomfortable whole

just as every siren knows
to turn her sadness into song,
develop a taste for archeology 

instinctively come up for air
to surface to herself,
watch the lobe of the moon disrobe 

consider drowning the night’s
last reckless sailors  
with the stark anthropology of her fins 

she finds it amusing
that her tears never get seen,
and so taught herself to cope

by hoping deep and long,
fathoming song,
choosing what’s buoyant,
learning so long

 

Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and expat doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of two poetry collections, Ex Nihilo (Frontenac House, 2010) and Terra Incognita (Inanna Publications, 2015). Her most recent, Terra Incognita, explores various racial discourses and interracial crossings buried in history’s grand narratives.

More work from Adebe DeRango-Adem appears in Room, 39.1 Women of Colour

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