Yasmina Martin

Yasmina Martin

Yasmina Martin

Praying in kiKamba

Grandmother asks me, please, to pray
I try, my accent mars my speech
for her, my words fail to suffice.

The language that grandmother speaks
is my adopted – other – tongue
Grandmother asks me, would I pray.

Kelitu ne ya satani
I am of satan, so she says-
for her my words fail to suffice.

The god she speaks to is not mine
I talk to Him with open eyes
Grandmother tells me, I must pray.

I voyaged seven thousand miles
to sit within the golden dust
for her, my words fail to suffice.

Begins her prayer, turns from me
dancing snakes in my belly
Grandmother asked me, could I pray?

Shut lantern off, climb into bed
Feel tendrils of familiar dread
This woman told me, I must pray –
for her my words fail to suffice.


Yasmina graduated from Amherst College with a degree in Black Studies and French. She likes street art and succulents. Her current projects include learning how to create, learning Spanish, and learning how to be. She has previously published poetry in Blackberry Mag.