Only Almost Half Full

From poet and activist Alexis Pauline Gumbs, re-posted from her website. Thanks to Kateri Boucher for the recommendation.

Last night the moon was a bowl again, almost half full out my airplane window. Slightly tilted so maybe moonlight, if it could spill would offer the contents of its light one drop at a time.

Last night, the moon in my airplane window and Tyre Nichols mother’s face on all the airport TV monitors. I can’t hear what she’s saying for all the amplified systemwide announcements, so I just look at her round face and wonder how she’s saying anything at all.

Audre Lorde published the poem “For Each of You” in 1973 for her children who she said were black “in the mouth of a dragon who defines them as nothing.” Like Tyre’s mom, RowVaughn Wells, Audre looked to the heavens. Here is Audre’s astronomical offering:

Remember our sun

is not the most noteworthy star

only the nearest

Audre’s clarification of what space means has trailed me since I was a teenager. I couldn’t grasp the meaning of this stanza until at least a decade after I read it. And then I shook my head. All this time I had believed the colonial education that taught me it was my brightness that mattered above all else. No. Audre clarifies while her children get death threats at their Staten Island grade school, it is where you are that matters. The sun is close enough to make all this photosynthetic life on Earth breathe.

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