Makshya Tolbert

We Walk Toward Day Nine or Not

I am a death doula to my mother and I am telling her it will be okay to go. Telling her my shoes are on, laces tied, hair combed out of my face. I am a death doula to my mother and in a way I think I have always wanted this, her hand. She hasn’t died yet, hasn’t bloomed yet either. But a bud in this pink light, in this warm April. She tells me it’s been eight days, and I know eight days is miraculous. My mother, my miracle. Who guides who. Can I get you anything, I offer. Support and love, she returns. Me, the field guide who walks ahead. I would show her to any future, but from some distance. Please, some distance. A little more distance, I’m afraid. My miracle is good to me, held by care, by me, by spring. We walk toward day nine or not.

In our dream band, on violetwood oboe:

Makshya Tolbert (she/they) is a Black, queer poet held by Black memory and ecological possibility. Her writing has appeared in For The Culture, The New Farmers Almanac, and Gastronomica. She has poetry and essays forthcoming in Narrative Magazine, Emergence Magazine, The Night Heron Barks, Art Papers, Ran Off With the Star Bassoon, and William Mullan’s Odd Apples. Makshya is a first-year poet in the University of Virginia’s Creative Writing Program. In her free time, she is elsewhere—where Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. calls ‘that physical or metaphorical place that affords the space to breathe.’

Oboe in C before 1727
Hendrik Richters Dutch

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