From an Agnostic

Hostile talk of Santería bites my ears like frost.
(Because Afro-Cuba) (Because the ancestors
fought for it) (Because the enslaved
saved what slavers tried to take) (Because
my black) (Because my blood) (Because no
cruelty should cross me) (Because the entire
goat is consumed) (Because the entire
chicken is consumed) (Because Azealia’s
chicken closet is better known) (Because
the Sublime song “Santeria” is better known)
(Because santeras are my tías) (Because santeras
pray for me) (Because Cal and I shook
the acheré as Abuelo prayed on Mom’s cancer)
(Because Yemayá’s portrait in any home
brings me home) (Because Abuela keeps an altar)
(Because my mother keeps a glass of water
out for the saints) (Because Orichás switch
genders) (Because some Orichás took lovers
of their gender) (Because I once trusted the narratives)
(Because Hollywood’s Africa) (Because the
Catholic church) (Because blood must be seen
for cruelty to be named) (Because only some are born
clean) (Because history) (Because history repeats)
(Because history has mouths we speak through)


—Kyle Carrero Lopez (from The Cincinnati Review)