Looking back now, I must have misremembered Esperanza to mean “wild horse woman,” the word deriving from the Latin sperare meaning “hope.” Either way, I could see it: a thousand grandmothers galloping into dusk. Night being the dark horses carrying off the day on their hooves. My grandmother lifts her head & wind bows, shifts her legs & a man’s knees buckle. Could turn a lover to a drought with a single glance. Now, she returns to me as myth: on four legs, scattering the wet earth behind her. My grandmother calling my name which was once hers. How she & my father’s mother crowned me in this name, having never met. Two equine women running as I have learned to run. The story goes: her presence would remind men of their mortality. Until my grandfather sought to subdue what others could not. I wish I thought to ask, Give me a truth I need to survive. She would tell me, Don’t worship men. What a waste of devotion. It’s been said women have nothing of their own, not even what we’re named. Call it a moonless clarity: how she passes through me every time the dark unknuckles & the night loosens its blue-black skin for stars.
I.S. Jones is an American Nigerian poet and music journalist. She is a Graduate Fellow with The Watering Hole and holds fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT Writer’s Retreat, and Brooklyn Poets. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Guernica, Washington Square Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hobart Pulp, The Rumpus, The Offing, Shade Literary Arts, Blood Orange Review and elsewhere. Her chapbook Spells Of My Name is forthcoming with Newfound in 2021.