They talk of blak matriarchy
I feel it every day
The only blak matriarchs I know
Would refuse that title
With an explosive cackle
It speaks nothing
Of the daily sacrifice
Of the undying capacity for love
The smoothed creases
The made bed tight as a drum 
And the pathological worries
However they wrapped it 

Nanahm, means sister
She is the head of the phalanx
Of black women
Who made everything
And what they didn’t manufacture with their own vascular hands
They could fix
No man needed
(They disappear anyway)

Grandma could reel in four and five at a time
Perched on the sea wall on the Tweed River
Every day except for Sunday
Black bream was her specialty
Enough to feed a blak army

They’d hear her speaking lingo
From the next room
But never invited in
Do you know what it is
To live with fear
As constant as breathing?

Nanahm feared God
It gave rhythm and melody to her life
She couldn’t read or write
But knew the good book verse and chapter
A pillar of the church
She held everything up
Even the broken notes as she strained to sing 

Granny Hannah didn’t have a tribal name
No totem either
We think of paucity
What they didn’t pass on
When we owe them the air that we breathe
Granny grew up on Stradbroke
Destined to be farmed out as domestic help
But you can’t train
An incandescent spirit
Laced with steel
Wrapped in an iron will 

They say Granny birthed most of the Gooris around here
Well - they used to say anyway
Any time
Day or night
The call would come
She’d hitch up that horse and buggy
And soon she’d be flying 
Out of Hannah’s Hill, a sand dune near South Golden 
Faster than a King parrot

A chipped blue tea service
Aunty Marg Iselin remembered
The gift of her employer
A big pastoral station out west somewhere
A clay pipe
Expert horsewoman (or I am misremembering)
And her basket weaving
In blood quantum terms
Granny Alison was full

Her self-loathing country doesn’t know itself
Always flattening the past
To raise shining hollow monuments to the present
That will be obsolescent in a decade

Like Pop, Granny didn’t like to have her photograph 
No one could steal her light
Like her thumbprints
But if I could just see her
I could well imagine 
What really fires the synapses in my brain
The sheer 
Of a blak woman standing alone
Only moved 
By the restless jarjum churning in her belly

A woman’s work is done