I found you while searching for books by other Black women, other immigrant women, other writing women, other queer women. I didn’t know of you before then. Perhaps I wasn’t supposed to know because I wasn’t ready. back then, I was scared of queerness, skittish about writing, deathly afraid of Blackness, ashamed of claiming my otherness.
I found you because I went looking and asking when the time was right; you have never let go since. If I had found you before I was ready, I might have lost you.
I found you then because you were ready for another protégé and I was ready for a mother. I often wish that you were still alive like Mama Alice or Mama Toni, or Mama Maya. I wish that you had been spared to become a grandmother, and mother more of us Black sistas.
I always wanted to tell you how brave I thought you were for your time. How going to Mexico to live was such a bold act for those times. How being among people you didn’t know and a language you didn’t speak had to have been scary, albeit perhaps liberating.
I always wanted to tell you how sorry I was for not having met you. Sorry that you lost the battle with Cancer. How I wish you had more exposure while you were alive. This posthumous shit is for the birds!
I always wanted to tell you that I thought you were beautiful no matter what anyone said. That, I loved how you wore your Afro and Dashikis so regally. How you were so proud of your African heritage and Black skin.
When we meet, I will tell you about my own struggles of being a queer, immigrant woman. I’ll share how my dark skin tones were a disgrace to my family. How I was never able to pass like everyone else.
When we meet, I’ll sit at your feet and ask you to tell me stories all night long.
When we meet, I’ll give you a kiss, and ask you about Afrekete and rubbing avocado on women’s bodies.
Until then, rest easy Mama Audre.
“I find I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of self.”
― Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches