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To my great, great, grandmother, Vinnie Banks, great-grandmothers,
Priscilla Subtlet, Julia Jones, Carrie May Scott, my
grandmothers Millie Jones-Gamble and Fannie Davis, and all
those who have returned through my womb.
The circle was drawn
six intersecting lines
—radius bound—
dissected its face
twelve houses, ten planets
four elements, two nodes
three crosses, thirty-six decans
three-hundred and sixty degrees
“this is your life“
the aging trumpeter,
my musical mentor
“you, like most women,
have problems with men,“
his wives,
moving about the perimeter
of our conversation
his trenchant eyes—
framed by the tangle of colors
in a thread worn kufi—
scried my face
“oh,” I said
reading him back
“but you see here?
Neptune is elevated
in your tenth house“
I fought his willing me
to plunge headlong
into his particular deep
a Dogon priest on 75th
and Cottage Grove
“what?” I asked
“you give birth
to ancestors.“

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