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My great grandmother was thought
to be a pop, a small glitch of blood
and flesh lost to waters.

Where she lay the net
she caught. Where she skinned the fish
it bled.

              How to understand the skill of gender
              when the water is involved.

              How to understand the death of context
              as the drought crosses generations

              & becomes your own.

We were taught a quiet complex:
grandmother's birth was demonic
an unfortunate flowering of envy -

the demon, a flaccid trout
gasping for its own compound.

Nana bled the sugar then killed
the cows then had the child

then, in the estimation of her own salt
disappeared into the diamond of the ocean
the night slowly wafting behind her,

Salt water the only portal left to
a true north, where

affection is a multi-modal operation
unfettered by the compulsion of straight lines
right angles
and the bald emerald eye of male need






Lay my body out at sea
Flush the wild toxins of
Such willfully lived
Lives, such painfully
Dead morsels of morals
and piety. I trust my god,
I know she'll make good
Document of me, my
Frail pieces a cast for some
New blood and that's the way
It goes, the power to cut it
All short just a switch in
the impulse of a broken
Heart. I let my fear of missing
it go, my sojourner's expectation
I give no thought to what I could
Have been, just the cold breadth
Of who the fuck I am, I have the
Chance to make it so easy, to make
Design of a tragic fall to order, I
Know the call when I hear it, the
Solemn, sick bell. And I honor it,
Sing back to it, hold fast to it,
Take a cab to the upper east side,
At noon and order the lobster dinner,
Take another cab to Boreoum to
Hug my mother, take another
Cab to Coney, where the Atlantic
Meets the urban dynasty, a reminder
That my body has drowned before.
At sunset, the taxi driver unlocks
His doors and offers, "probably too nippy
to wade,” but drowning is so
dream-like, so purple in the
volume of a hard deinstall, and
I am unafraid. I imagine I'd
meet a friend on the way,
another melancholy black girl on
her way back home, we'd hold hands
On the descent into this new world of
Queer solitude, the gentle waves
Of a deep fever calling me towards
That garden of resurrected
possibility, where everything
Lives in patient grandiosity
and nothing is made to survive.




Camonghne Felix.jpg


Camonghne Felix, M.A. is a poet, political strategist, media junkie and cultural worker. She received an M.A. in Arts Politics from NYU, an MFA from Bard College, and has received Fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo and Poets House. The 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee is the author of the chapbook Yolk, and was recently listed by Black Youth Project as a "Black Girl From the Future You Should Know." Her first full-length collection of poems, Build Yourself a Boat, was a 2017 University of Wisconsin Press Brittingham & Pollak Prize finalist, and a 2017 Fordham University Poets Out Loud semi-finalist.