the ritual

Edythe Rodriguez

the knock-knocks pool

between my pretzeled

legs on the basement

rug, scrunchies

scattered, Sulfur 8

to the left of me,

Jam and comb

on the right.

She presses play

on the TV,

Love Jones


She begins

the first part,

the comb scrapes

slowly, splits

my bush in two.




her fingers


her mother’s.

her fingers

bat the fly-aways,

apply the minty

grease to

my scalp.

I close my eyes

and the grease

is shea butter,

and this moment


to someone else.

A cacophony of hands

pull weaving left right

there is a mourning

behind me

left right

my butt is numb

against the wet stone

of our cold cell,

this is a ritual

for the


left right we will

left right hunger soon

left right add the rice

Edythe Rodriguez is a Philly-based poet who studied Africology and Poetry at Temple University. As an African Renaissance poet, her work is a call for aggressive healing, protection of our African selves, and Sankofa.

Issue 3

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