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Her Sister, The Whale by Ollie Mason

Photo by Dazzle Jam

her sister, the whale, and

ocean water that arcs in the air, prima milky blue that stretches her finger to the stars blanketed across black velvet sky like the doublets of the men that

march like ants across the red clay sand of the african desert, that spread filth like disease, words like throngs of death and legs soaked in urine that seeps into open sores rubbing underneath steel chains.

her sister, the whale, the

broad blade clatters at her feet, she

screams as the white man scrapes himself against her blowhole, as he

scratches his nails like swords, severing her flippers and dying her beautiful blue hide blood red, not

red like her beloved clay desert that disappears into ocean water and babies born from her swollen womb, but red like

dried blood on their swords, red like

the glint in their werewolf eyes, eyes that transform beast, that cross the boundary of skin, and peels her apart into pieces to be sold, like flanks of cattle slaughtered.

she screams and pleads, she tucks her fingers under her belly and prays for the child in there, that where she goes they may grow, she asks her sister to protect her and

in a second her

feet pound the salt-heavy deck, her

arms spread out like the eagle they

worship, she

launches off the deck, she folds into the arms of the ocean, the whale

walked on land and now she must swim in the sea, her sister must reshift, grow a tail, swim without her flippers, she becomes the space ship her children build in 300 years, she

holds in her the baby and curls around them as she sinks to the ocean floor, she prays she does not survive, imprinted with the memory of the white man’s touch but that her child

be born as a new cycle, that her death is enough to

give them a new beginning, the whale that sinks to the ocean floor and her sister, yemaya sobs and screams, like bright red blood, like red clay sand, so loud it erupts like death and coats her black babies, her sweeter loves in all its power, she screams and screams until nothing is left, she

like the whale gives herself to her children so that one day, they might

rise, so that one day they might

take black back from white, so that they might

nestle their fingers in each other, so they might

live to see their children, so they might

burn bright enough to make them understand, make them all understand, see the milky blue of her sister, the whale, the stars and cowrie shells that come tumbling from her mouth, so

that they might

one day return to the red clay sands of her motherland and remember yemaya and her sister,

the whale.

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