Return by Jessica Covil

Sometimes it starts in my toes
licks my ankles and swims up,
crashing in my belly
lapping the sides of this cavern inside me
wanting to spill out.

And sometimes
it starts at the top of my head
trickling down like warm water
to baptize or embalm me.
It rushes down my spine
and I am floating.

The ocean
always carries me.
I’ve got the Middle Passage
in my body
the sea at the soles of my feet
for I have walked on water
hundreds of years

Oh, Africa
I would lay down my life
to wash up on your shore
What else can I do?
It’s this pleasure-pain
consuming my flesh
that maps my anatomy
and leads back to you.