I Wonder If

this graying beard beneath my chin

two hairs

I pick                                           each sprout

purple flowering mint exiting               my face

is my ma’s and my daddy’s and their ma’s

and their daddy’s too                         

                                                            I was first held in my grandmother’s womb

e[1] soft


smells of camphor

[1] In Gullah-Geechee language, “e/em” are gender-neutral pronouns.

Marlanda Dekine’s forthcoming collection, Thresh & Hold, won the New Southern Voices Poetry Prize and will be published by Hub City Press in 2022. Dekine is the creator of the spoken word project, i am from a punch & a kiss. Their poems have been published or are forthcoming in POETRY, Emergence Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, Oxford American, the Poetry Out Loud Anthology, OROBORO, and elsewhere. Dekine is a poet obsessed with ancestry, memory, and the process of staying within one’s own body, leaving spells and incantations for others to follow for themselves. Dekine lives in South Carolina with their wise dog.