Lost Mourning & Other Poems

Maya Lewis

Lost Mourning

the burial: no more than dirt on chest;

i, we cry tears                     for
                           ancestry lost:
to their place        of rest
(if you can find it; if not your backyard will do)
burrow down
                                /the shrine
grab hold         the muddy root
fathom up
            the language lost

in peace of thought—
                                      the names.
wail in vain—
weep all the same


We’re in a heatwave.
And there’s a thin layer of plaque on my teeth
because I haven’t brushed today and
the imprint of my body on the couch is warm
and the fan on low dries my tears,
and it feels cool and comfortable and
I want to cry more because of that.
And when have you ever said you’re sorry to me?
I’ve said it so many times the word doesn’t feel real anymore.
The syllables bounce in my dirty mouth and just land.
You make me feel selfish – am I selfish?
Because I don’t notice your flaws as clearly
as you notice mine.
Yours feel opaque at best, but you articulate mine
as though they are the rain on your face.
Am I selfish?
I feel warm – Is it the heatwave?
Or is my fever back? Am I selfish?
Your disappointment in me is so thick; it coats me like sweat
And I feel small on this warm indented couch,
small in the most familiar way.
It tastes like burnt sugar.


My grandmother’s coven
– inky onyx women,
with muddy feet and murky tears
meet in my dreams
to practice magic; blue black gramarye.

And they dance around my flames; and they stoke my fire,
and they stir in me a mystic future.

They sing, they chant
to my spirit:

muddy ya feet, child
muddy ya feet along the road
muddy ya feet, child, along the road
blue black blood

Maya Lewis is a Brooklynite who works in book marketing. She is also an associate member of Inkluded Academy, a tuition-free publishing course taught by industry professionals to college graduates from excluded groups. Outside of work, Maya is a mixed-media artist, poet, and avid pop-culture enthusiast.


*Image by Roopak Ravi on Unsplash

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