ANCESTOR IN TRAINING
i like to imagine that every mythical creature is somebody's child, somebody
who became so drenched in lore and life that it poured into their pores and
reshaped their retinas and stomach and heart
shaped by the memory of memory, dragons hold tales in their eyes and in the
linings of their livers, their bodily functions kept running by the memory
the eve of my high school graduation, i dreamed
about a dragon who lived in the burnt out husk of a tree at the base of a
snow-table clothed mountain
her belly hung low, still full from her long-gone days of tasting the yellow
band that the sun cast in the frost-riddled sky
she clung to the land like a meteor not yet raveled
her eyes glistened,
but not like a star
more like a wound
one of her stab-sharp claws slowly reached out,
piercing into my shoulder i didn’t feel a thing
my upper left chest just ached a bit; phantom heart pains, i guess
standing there, breathing in the rhythm of her sleep-slow
heartbeat, the hand i’d fisted since birth softened into open.
the dragon spoke to me without her mouth:
rest yourself, baby. put your head
on my shoulder, touch your skin to mine
let’s start a new universe, hmm?
and i could feel it in the way my throat was suddenly
conscious of what kept it moist and by the way i held reality not by the throat
but by the hand: I was somebody’s child.
i woke up,
skin still against skin,
chest bruised in the shape of a wing.
Yasmine Bolden is a Pushcart Prize and Scholastic American Voices nominated Black American poet, author, part-time creative writing coach, and bear hug enthusiast. Her work has found homes in Love Letters: To the Mothers and Fathers of the African Diaspora anthology, Perhappened Magazine, and Salima Magazine among others. At heart, she's still the voracious reader who talked her way into getting more than the five book limit from her elementary school library. You can find her carrying on about Wakanda and the moon on Twitter @blkpunningpoet.