revamped beliefs

By: Alice Kogo

if I am to believe in anything,
i believe in the stars.
i believe in the glint the moon gives though a car door window.
i believe in the scattered freckles of lanterns in the sky,
eternally held in place until you
blink and they shift ever so slightly
in pursuit of the moon.
i believe in my mother.
i believe in the womb i was born from.
the umbilical cord.
SNAP the string snapping which once tied us together into one being until i’d begin bawling,
no, not ballin on the basketball court but bawling for the love found in a mother’s womb which until
seven in the afternoon had been extracted from my pre-life but before post-death state.
for the familiar.
for a mother’s touch, an embrace, anything close to what i had known for the entire past nine months
i’d spent as a leech clutching her for support.
for life.
for my existence, and now
for a comfort amidst the fact that a black body in a white world cannot exist peacefully but will burn,
but will be angry and what’s left is believing, believing.
believing in my father.
believing in the bottom of beer bottles which slowly, oh so slowly turned into wine.
believe in the late nights spent at a cousins house because, a “oh no, we have to wait for them to finish.“
believe in the way he used to be and the way he changed and he way it’s hard.
believe in how long it took to
forget, to
remember, to
remember, forgive and clutch and hold on to that forgiveness and believe in the power of humanity and
remember it and look for brighter days.
younger days when you would be on his shoulders and he’d call you dear and baba and chepkogei and
anything other than the names everyone else used to mutter to you as passing greeting
because what is on my birth certificate is only legal and not as binding as the memories clinging to my
heart each day.
to believing in uncles who called me uncle in an accent, to a man who’d travel around the world with
two kids in kenya and one in the us and still have enough time to bring his favorite niece back a present,
a purse, a baby doll.
i believe in the gift of laughter that erupts from my uncles mouth as he sticks his tongue out (something
my little sister is keen to mention these days) and i believe in my inability to hate him
no matter what demons were brought into my father’s life because everything has a meaning, and
every moment has a reason, and
one individual, one brother alone cannot ruin another’s life.
and yet we keep on turning and turning page after page in this novel, life, and i can’t stop
believing in the power of a religion to cast away it’s undesirables.
emboldened in fear, milked by the patriarchy, black, womyn, gay, what is left to save if my pieces
haven’t been won over?
how centuries ago, weapon of destruction, now the same with a beautiful face
i believe in the ability to make myself uncomfortable by denouncing the book that nurtured me with
i believe in my brother who i looked at up and down, and
labeled “better than me”, and
remove the words, destroying my perception, in case he believes that he lives in my shadow.
i believe in him.
i believe in my sister who a decade younger than me, who is yet to grow and unlikely to face every last
one of my struggles, but who will grow with my nose and my body and my skin, the dark pigmentation
which casts us as african and i believe in her ability to succeed
i believe in the stars because they were once my only friends, and
now that there is more than one light in my life,
believing is the platform
upon which i voice the echos of my dreams