Four Poems by Ashley Elizabeth

IceFloe Press

Kitchen Conversations

My grandmother
ate cut cantaloupe
from the tip of her knife.

My father, one of her middle children,
told her to stop, that eating
with a ribbed spine wasn’t safe.

She shrugged, Neither
is being black, being a woman.
I’ll die someday,

and popped another juicy cube
into her waiting mouth,
knife ridges up.


“you will transcend your ancestors’ suffering” – Sarah Gambito

but still honor them years later
through all you know is a few names
know that a few were free blacks
know by lineage others were not
know one woman doesn’t have a name
not one you recognize easily
just Bubi Tribe Lane

where she’s from with the name
of her owner
don’t know who she came with
or who she slept with to get a daughter
but know that her descendants
are rather light-skinned
I will write her story
call her Hope and…

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