Diaspora I, II & III were previously published in Room 40.3 Migration.
Oma. Maria. Mathilda. Melitta. Your blood sings in me. Your guttural voices sing me to sleep. Give me a new tongue: One that knows your songs. Give me a strong back And a farm wife's hands. Give me a name I can embody. Shelley is foreign to you, And it escapes me. Call me Margaretha. Call me Anna Rosina. Give me a name that will ground me. Give me a name that will take root. Call me Sophia: Watch my body flower. Call me Elisabetha, And I ripen. Give me arms like crooked branches. Call me: She who sings the children to sleep. Wind whistles through my hair.
Let us compare geographies. When young, I watched my father map the expanse of British Columbia. He scaled its topography. He labelled each river by hand. He knew borders could be redrawn. He knew cities could be razed and countries renamed. Nothing has changed. I am the cartographer's daughter. I plot my course, But I do not know where the bombs have been laid.
Oma. The match is struck. The oven lit. Bread rises before me. Your hands, stained by cherries and nectarines, brush hair from my cheek. Crickets sing. There is magic here. Dark coffee brews. Halvah sweetens my tongue. I would break bread with you. Give me loaves and salami, And, I will go to the men, Laden with bags of apples on their backs. But, I shall return to you. And, we shall sit in the shade of this kitchen. Our words: ripe and full as plums. Shelley Marie Motz