Poem by Chinaka Hodge

a psalm for teef and weston.
(the poem my maker gave me at one this morning)

we all
every one of us
is good at counting celestial bodies:

constant stars
ill-formed clouds
blinking andromeda
dark blessings

we know our angels well
we salute them almost out of rote now
know you are among them, always

it is simply your nature
thank heaven, you know
thank heaven you two found each other

bless all that is good and wrap it around your bodies
tie these bright thoughts and garland and sage to your feet
bind them
be bound only by the love we inject into them

remember how
remember how you taught us to be fiercely unforgiving
unwavering in love

in love
before you two ever met each other
you were practiced
in love and only love first

you gave us language for finding ourselves
spoke from the base of your stomach as lovers
of us first
there has never been a rush hour
never been a time you have clocked out of work
you just keep on showing up

just kept on surrounding us with your prayer and deed
and outright genius

you have been father even when you were woman
and mother even when baba would have sufficed

and taught us how to count our blessings
our angels, how to see them
our seraphim, how to know them
everyone else taught us to look for light and airy white beings

but you two, being sage
taught us to find the cast iron, the black and shining,
the night finds us and sings us to sleep
and you pointed to it and said there
there it is
there you are
all holy
crafted like savior


this prayer you have given us?
only right we should shuttle it back to you
only right you two should marry in struggle
and kiss in struggle
and raise babies who are unafraid of struggle

and do it all with grace
God is your protector
you are our teachers
we hold you up to God’s face
pulley to you, this thing you have shown us is our own self for so long

so we surround you with upside down cakes
and serums
balms and holy text
we give you not enough
and everything we have

we are praying for both of you
it is almost selfish
this thing we wish to reciprocate
all of the times you have traveled to our scariest
most bruised places and offered only your smile
only your truest most diligent offerings of agape

as you were taught by your maker
we attempt to show you that we have learned by
example by God
by faith and not by


we will keep on walking toward you
circling this hospital
this treatment
this wide, daunting, trembling unknown

we will keep on showing up
til disease takes a break
retires cowers in a corner
all its own

oh Lord, did you know how much we loved them
Did you see us all sit on the edge of our chairs and wait for teef
to rejoice and mr. weston to fling his hands wide and take the baby to his chest

hear us when we ask you to circle all them
into your all encompassing grace
give us light and dark
and thorn
and smooth
and honey and salt and bitter taste

give us the implements of love.
give us the implements of love.
put them in the hands of the learned
and God fearing.

make us, well.
come on now, church shout with me.

make us all well.

like hagar
like reaching for him. the hem of a garment.
like ring shouts
well. well. wail.

a wail like old time religion:

I asked the Lord and He heard my cry...