by Abena Ntoso
I’ve been fully awake for decades,
insomniac really, and I am so relieved
to read this letter from you,
my feminist sister.
Let me get comfortable.
I’m going to sleep now as I read it.
You’ve written in cursive, a beautiful
style that reads like love and knowing,
though some of the words are blurred
by your tear drops or the tears
from a sweating glass of water.
You tell me what happened:
how everyone was assassinating one another
and the talented rain fell steadily against
palm trees and monuments,
how you escaped from a crowded aviary
thanks to your mastery of
jujutsu and dancing.
You admit the future is unprecedented
(as they used to say in 2020),
scripting in remembrance, in celebration,
in defiance, indefinitely wrapped
in woven wisdom and grace
gleaned from observations,
You explain that many wear critical masks
and dictate to you silently their devastating orders
which you inscribe as a tattoo
on the inside of their chests—
exhale—leaves a vacant memory
of how we could have been destroyed
had it not been for—inhale—our unique gifts.
I can finally rest now.
Reading your unsent message,
I’ve circled my favorite words,
those filled with freedom
and the perfume scent
from your handwoven scarves.
* * * * *
Abena Ntoso is a full-time high school English teacher and mother of two, originally from New York City, and currently based in Houston, Texas. She returned to writing after a 20-year hiatus, during which she worked as an educational technologist at Columbia University and later served as a dentist in the U.S. Army. Her writing has been published in The Wrath-Bearing Tree and Adelaide Literary Magazine.