BlackGirlMagic, a Luv Letter
July 3, 2021
I often wonder how to quantify a Black woman's soul energy. What amount of the universe must she call upon to perform the magic that she does? I do not pretend to know. Her vocabulary is full of incantations that make manifest impossibilities. A soft touch and she makes it true, "Everything is gonna be alright." If another had said it, I would think it a lie but the words belong to the keeper of the elements essential to enchantment, she who speaks the language of the heart.
She has defended against the destruction of her people. Where death was always an option, she chose life. Those who have lived it know that such a choice is not always a given. Wisdom does not lie with what she chooses but rather with the knowledge of choice. Whatever she chooses it is life.
In life she chose to teach that wisdom to boys born blind to the blight set against them. Her wisdom was lost on them. They heralded their maleness above their Blackness and fell into the illusion of the oppressor. She remembers:
"The Man, looking into the depths, smiled, for he beheld a shadow upon the earth and a likeness mirrored in the waters, which shadow and likeness were a reflection of Himself. The Man fell in love with his own shadow and desired to descend into it. Coincident with the desire, that define or intelligent aspect of Man unites itself with the unreasoning image or shape. Nature, beholding the descent, wrapped herself about the Man who she loved, and the two were mingled."
These words and more, are etched upon the pyramids of her DNA. She translates these mysteries to those possessed by the chimera of gender but her parables remain lost up one ears that do not hear. He simply knows it as Black girl magic. She makes everything, every situation, any room—better. He has no words to explain the unexplainable. Neither do I.
In the suffering of slavery she collected scraps and fed the soul of her people, food she seasoned with unspeakables like lard and unfathomables like love.
A love so beautiful it overpowered the coarseness of cornmeal and created bread that scraped plates clean. You know nothing about love until you can open your heart to those who hate you and still cast incantations that induce convalescence.
Thus, she spoke to her mistress a sweet spell, "You don't do the child like that."
While dependent on the dissipating air of survival she worked her wand and willed a world worth living in into being. She "manned" every position on the battlefield. Treated as a "piece" and pawn, she never ceased being Queen. She turned high-rises into great halls, projects into palaces, and made miracles every Thanksgiving. But her greatest feat may be making me real.
She recasts her spell knowing that, at any moment—I could disappear. I was stolen before. I disappeared, transformed into property. She waved her hand and said, "You are mine." The overseer saw this power and called on every evil idea in the devil's detail to crush her.
They made me watch as they impaled her. Her eyes vacant. Her body died without succumbing to the throes of death. I watched her die a million times. A million times I died with her, all the deaths of a coward.
They made me hate. Them and Me.
And when the hatred of myself threatened to asphyxiate me—I learned to hate her. An evil dust inhaled from my master's mirror. A mirror that made me disappear. I fell into the shadow and knew her by every name but her own. Still, she appeared to me in various forms, a language spoken in flesh, she reminded me that there would be no substitute for heaven.
She knew that I would deny her like Peter. Denial is disappearance. And she found me, an ember burning softly and breathed life into me. Her face was a stranger in the street—she blew breath into me. Her face was my mother's —she breathed life into me. I remembered.
She is the world to me.
That's what I thought when I looked at her. A beautiful brown woman whose magic brought me back from the dead. I watched as she worked the room, her braided hair pulled into a ponytail. She wore a black T-shirt and jeans, an ensemble that would have been unremarkable had she not been in it. She made her way toward me. I held my breath like a sacred prayer caught in my chest. She cut her eye at me. I extended my hand and opened my mouth to speak when she asked:
"Do I know you?"
Yes! I wanted to tell her that I had met her in past lives, that we were connected, that...I laughed.
"No, seriously," she said as she scanned my face.
"Yes." I said.
"From where?" her hands folded across her bosom, half curious —half dubious.
"Its a long story."
"Is this one of those stories that I'll remember or one that only you remember?" she asked.
"If you don't remember you are not who I thought you were."
"And just who do you think I am?"
I answered her question with a question of my own, "Who do you think you are?"
"Oh, this is going to be interesting."
"Don't worry," I said as I touched her elbow, "Everything is gonna be alright."