Poem by Angelique V. Nixon

June 2011

Hibiscus Opening at Day Break

I woke up today
soaking in her golden red light
for the first time, pulling myself
through memories that break skin

they melt like glass this time
sun showers across my collar bones
they unravel me, no longer
I remember & exhale stories, hard to pass on.

hands and mouths, not supposed to touch or lick me
slow movements, nine-year-old thighs, not suppose to enjoy
feel stirring below my belly, each time
tight eyes spill shame, not supposed to tell
I mimic my button on pillows at midnight, to forget
pray forgiveness, our father in heaven,          my test

waking with purpose, I know better now
my broken limbs of dusted pollen
cleansed with rain over petals
telling stories, hard to pass on.

I spoke up today
tethered by Oshún’s tongue
for the first time, patching up
pot holes inside me with warm words

her waters rise up, bursting with leaves
they know me, each pore, each curve
they dance calypso & chant against fear
they carry me to moon’s full embrace

she holds my belly, healing me with honey
her rivers bring vision, eye lids flutter orange
Oshún baths me in her sweet water, letting blood go
my stories seep into oceans of stories, hard to pass on.

They pass through my lips
speaking tongues of revolution
Oshún teaches me to love pleasure
for the first time, trusting female desire
            beauty in touch & night’s end
            waking to her dark red flame.


Angelique V. Nixon is a Bahamian writer, cultural critic, teacher, community worker, and poet. She joins the faculty at Susquehanna University as an assistant professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing this fall. Her poetry has appeared in several journals, including Julie Mango, Proud Flesh, Journal of Caribbean Literatures, Black Renaissance Noire, tongues of the ocean, WomanSpeak, and Anthurium, and in the anthology Caribbean Erotic.