you are medicine.
you tell me, my head weighed down
water dripping slick
paths down my neck. i inhale,
squint eyes, resemble someone

with dainty palms you
weave strands back to their wildness
detangling, i think;
my true origin — the cusp
between hands and fresh water

a large river bathes
my skull, feels like common root,
something such as thread.
i think of drenched islands now
gone, until the river stills

often i long for
what was mine. that is sun-grown,
that is vine-ripened
that is indigenous, kin
to waters never once feared

you pour olive oil
the nerves at my crown’s centre
awash with healing.
see, medicine as you tilt
my head further back to soak

i wonder if you
too crane your neck at basin
edges, searching for
mossed river bed, sunken leaves
still there, under fingertips.

Amara Amaryah is a Jamaican poet and essayist. As a Caribbean woman born and raised in Britain, her writings are also interested in voice — often voicelessness — and reclamations of identity through definitions of home. She has both published and performed her poetry nationally and internationally. The Opposite of an Exodus is her debut (Bad Betty Press, 2021)