‘the god is present however the god presents’

     Written by Cindy Rene 
     Illustrated by Badiallo Diawara 

     Est. Reading Time: 2 min 

standing in a tub
cloaked by rose scented perfume,
my mother stood across from me,
lifting the water over my back.
With weathered hands,
she baptized me in a basin of her love,
pelted my back with a short bouquet;
branches, thorns, petals,
I was adorned.
Satan beaten out of me with rough hands and rose water.
“Save some for your dad”, she says to me.

My father, hexed by his own mother at the start of this new year,
love answered with evil,
So this is what we do:

My people, whose skin ate the sun,
and turned the sugar in their blood
into gold;
who answer the devil with roses,
and pelt their kin with petals;
who throw salt at their doors to keep the zonbi’s masterless,
who dance with the bokors
and sing of dreams in Ian Guinée.

I remember my grandma would sit,
rocking back and forth,
her movement a mantra,
her hums a quiet chant.
I heard it in my room with the tv on.
A low vibrational energy
that snuck under my door and into my ears.
I looked for a channel on the TV,
looking and now lost, under the trance of my ancestors.
I’d find her humming for hours;
I’d open my door at 3 for a snack and return,
And would hear humming again at 6.
For hours she would sit with her eyes closed;
I wondered what the spirits told her,
and why she never left the kitchen.
I wondered why she couldn’t hum in any other part of the house;
as if she couldn’t hear the spirits with my TV on;
as if they couldn’t travel through the static,
but they could.
Sneaking under my door,
they rippled across my carpet in waves.
And there I laid, listening.


Published October 17, 2020
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Author’s Bio
Cindy Rene is a first generation, Haitian~American creative writer who sees a desperate need for constant collective healing. She wants to use art an impetus for this healing, by shifting culture, connecting and empowering the black diaspora through empathy.
︎ @cindy.rene
︎ linkedin.com/in/cindyrene/

Artist’s Bio
Badiallo Diawara is a New York based graphic designer, creator, writer and art student. She is currently pursuing a BA in Graphic Design at The City College of New York and is minoring in journalism.
︎ @badiallodesigns
︎  badiallodiawara.com


︎Philadelphia, PA
Plantin Magazine ©2020