I am a woman with keys

Without a door

My wide angle perfect size

Still I pass through

And the space is made

To fit

 

My spaceship hands

This waterfall of feet

These ship-size eyes

A gun

The very air

It shapes me

Keys jingle

And fish fly protectively

Around my waist

 

I am a woman with keys

And all the doors are nailed

Dented shut with hammers

Unlikely to ever open on their own

But I am a key woman

I come jingling

And there is a ringing in my ear

That is not song

But how I enter

I am quilted down

With eyes and scale

This is jewelry on my belt

From the Living behind us

I enter        then I knock

 

I am a woman with keys

And this long middle sash of sorrow

Stays tightly tied

And is given to the yellow chicken wind

For whipping

Do you hear that jingle

As I go slow

I am a woman with keys

The mother-mother of memory

 

I come to go

As I please

You know I have been here

By the sound of locks

Swinging free

From Zanzibar to Daufuskie to alligator swamp

All along the ocean’s floor

There are attics

And storm cellars of hearts

Castanetting for a key

A Black cobblestone of family

Has never held its breath

 

Tell them I am on my way

 

I am a woman with keys

Unlocking the buildings

That now belong

To me 

 

-Nikky Finney

 

Currently listening to: “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman