Making Home.

Alicia Kester


bald sky held up by water




fast glances across the bough

red clay kept safe between our toes


what do we call this place

that gets caught in our




home sits on the horizon

floating debris


at sea

we are cargo

on land

we are machines


in clapboard houses

insulated by newspaper

we are unsure of how to respond

to snow

we are lost


home lives in the last breath

of news




thin stories written in currency

that doesn't speak of kola nuts and broad fast smiles


"Chi chi" say the grandmothers

quick before the line is broken

let me tell you of your cousins


at work

we are knuckles cracking over steering wheels

and feet dragged along side brooms

at school

our skin is measured in kelvins

blue, purple, black black

absorbing but not reflecting


in studio apartments

and in-laws

we are the conquerors of cockroaches

and the hangers of flags


Palms red and empty

Home is wedged

in our throats

waiting for us


shake, shake, shake

said the girls kicking up dust on the roads

we remember

shake, shake, shake

free the dirt that we keep

and cling to this concrete.


"This poem reflects the immigrant experience, particularly the African immigrant experience, in America. Carrying echoes of Africans forcibly imported during the slave trade, the modern depiction of African immigrants in the poem superimposes nostalgia and memory over geographic distance. The piece infuses notions of materialism and technological modernity to capture a sense of othering that disconnects the subjects from both where they are now and where they are from." 

Alicia Kester is a writer and filmmaker living in the Bay Area. Most recently you can find her piece "Snakeskin" in the anthology G.R.I.T.S. - Girls Raised In the South: An Anthology of Southern Queer Womyns' Voices and Their Allies. She has also recently produced the film El Camino with the filmmaker collaborative and production company Light Show Pictures. Alicia is currently writing and directing a new film project for Light Show Pictures and writing a play based on the poem "Snakeskin."