Ashaki Jackson – "Passing Pamhona"
Written by
Khadijah Queen
April 2011
Written by
Khadijah Queen
April 2011

Ashaki Jackson – "Passing Pamhona" from her unpublished manuscript Thus Are Our Bodies


Ashaki M. Jackson's background as a social psychologist informs her work, as does her interest in the ritual cannibalism practices of "diminishing tribes" in the Amazon and elsewhere. Her poems consider takes a violently unimaginable act and re-frames it, showing how consumption of the body becomes a consumption of grief -- not such a far stretch in this poem, and delivered to unnerving effect.  



Passing Pamohna

(for Rose Marie)


Nari, the village folded into itself when we found you –

your emptied lungs blistered like cabelluda.

We scalped homes to kindle you, removed

errant roof beams for the roast. Thatched roofs

still cave in memoriam.

We erected our grief with bodies –

piled ourselves beneath you for comfort,

embraced you into decay.

Your sons held you longest, stroking away the skin.

Eulogies swelled out of our home

into the canopy. The house settled its girth

on pamohna – our dense bread of consolation.

We consumed your memory, cradled the clay pot

as if your face between laps. We alternated:

bread, chica, soaking. Each of us

arching as if possessed,

nibbling flesh from the tips of splinters.




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