Anna Corniffe

One day you will tell her
about the way you forgot all the names you meant to give her.

You will tell her about the way your mother moved in your chest
when you saw her face for the first time.

You will tell her
that this is why you changed your mind
and gave her the name
of a woman she would never meet

A woman you knew briefly.

You will tell her about the way your mother lived
and the generational curse your father told you about
and the way she died
and the way the people of the town said her sister’s hands were stained red

You will weep crimson tears,
you will hold your stomach and beat your chest
when you think about the name you gave your child,
the woman who had it first,
the things you must have passed from one woman to another

and how it’s still the most beautiful and heartbreaking word you know.
At nights you pray for your child.
You keep secret council with god.
Running blessings over the name.
Resting your olive oil consecrated palms on her forehead.

Telling her that she is loved.
Telling god that the misfortune has to stop here.

At nights you create an altar around the name,
asking heaven to be kind.

Asking your mother to love her as much as you do.

Anna Corniffe is a twenty-something year old, self-published author from Negril, Jamaica. Her debut poetry collection, Heavy Crowns, is available worldwide in all major e-tailers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Previously published work can be found in Vagabond City Lit, and in the Crown Anthology. She spends her time continuously falling in love with her island, and words.