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This Event is For People of Color - Ages 16 and Up

By María Fernanda

for Miya, they/them

We leave our leather. Finding a spot on Miya’s
living room floor, we untuck our bound things:
a borrowed yoga mat, a stretched hair tie,
and a softening tension. Our breath unknots.
Miya’s voice lands with the softness
of a drum brush against a snare. Homemade
body oils settle into our palms. Miya gives
a lesson on which organs are where. We press
our bellies and begin to massage our wombs.
Not expecting, we close our eyes and knead
our own skin, like gathered honey. Memory
crafts the noise, first. When will you fill this?
When was it removed? Dear, will I live long
enough to see my grandch
—a steady music
quiets the rewind. We remember our skin,
with no one else’s history—no kicking,
no lapse. We imagine just ourselves.




Listen as María Fernanda reads "This Event is For People of Color - Ages 16 and Up."

Added: Friday, January 1, 2021  /  Used with permission.
María Fernanda
Photo by Nicholas Nichols.

María Fernanda's poems and translations appear in The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, The Wide Shore, The Acentos Review, and more. Her work “invokes sea crossings with [...] the breaking and making of family,” as described by OkayAfrica. Awarded the Andrea Klein Willison Prize for Poetry and a finalist for The Hurston/Wright Amistad Award for College Writers in Poetry, María Fernanda is a recipient of Callaloo, CantoMundo, and The Watering Hole fellowships. She has presented her work at The Ecuadorian American Cultural Center, The Brooklyn Museum, The Phoenix Museum, MoMaPS1, and elsewhere. María Fernanda is also a 2020-2021 Poetry Coalition Fellow. A Black Ecuadorian American, she is from Washington, D.C.

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