A Spell to Save Your Life: Honoring the 19th Anniversary of Toni Cade Bambara’s Ascension



Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind

(originally published in The Feminist Wire’s Forum on Toni Cade Bambara)

after Toni Cade Bambara

"Exhale" collage ©Alexis Pauline Gumbs Photograph of Toni Cade Bambara ©Susan Ross


eat salt
not that ocean drowning
snack to stop thinking about dying
unintentional salt

eat salt
on purpose

salt conductor of dreams
ancestor crystal portal
blood water preservation

clean it out
with your eyes


deep sight
practice living in the dark
and seeing what
the light don’t want
you to see

go on a mission
to rescue
the part of the universe
that will always be you
and unknowable


be well
want to be
well deep enough to drink from
bell ringing soul alarms
be buried mineral breakthrough


see birds
love gorillas
listen to dolphins
and do not swallow
what you know

breathe it out
the top of your head

knock on your chest
until you hear it

remember how to fly

*Listen to…

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