Brittany J. Camacho







She knelt at

the shoreline. water

lapped against dark

kneecaps. lips lowered

to dirt &

sowed words into

patient earth.



Her tongue was

coated in sand.

it writhed and

coaxed a land all

our own into

being.



obsidian women

rose from the

mound. lifted their

voices. craning toward

the rising sun, they

inhaled in unison.

breath filled plump

lungs, their dark

flesh reflected

dawn light.



She made us

of earth &

spit &

want &

song.



































































a gail passed

over Christiansted.◊

night was velvet

and unrelenting. a

shroud to veil

her dying.



fertile fruit pummeled

into coarse moonlit

sand. the storm

rocked the lampposts,

lights blinked out &

disappeared on the

midnight Black sea.

archways & awnings

bent in the

onslaught of

hastened time.



in tumult, the sea

ebbed and flowed.

steadied trembling earth. 

duty to the living

kept her grief

from swallowing

her whole.


Audre passed in

multitudes of self.

water called her

forth into a

new name.



She emerged from

the lapping ocean

adorned with cowrie,

twine, feathers, beads,

wire, birds of paradise,

tongues of mothers.



Her daughters washed

her aching soles

before She stepped

ashore. The journey

through the Eye

made holes in her. 



They knew this

day would come.

Brown was not

obsidian, mortal

beings not hardened

stone. She birthed

this land to rest.


She laid her

weary body along

the muddy sand,

bounding two worlds.



They formed her

body to primordial ash

in salt water mortars.

sea glass pestles

parted skin without

pain.


Remembrance dusted

into waiting warmth,

danced between seafoam.


obsidian women cried.

Their fallen tears 

were butterfly wings

on trade winds.



GAMBA ADISA ◊ 

The ocean receded. 



ENDNOTES

◊ — 17°44' 47.9004'' N, 64°42' 11.5236'' W. | A simultaneous place of death and birth. Former capital of the Danish West Indies, death site of Audre Lorde, and my place of birth. 

◊ — Near the end of her life, Audre took the name Gamba Adisa: she who makes her meaning clear.
 



Audre Lorde in St. Croix is a poetic study investigating death as a creative force through an examination of Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, and poet Audre Lorde. Working with a blended practice of poetry, oration, storytelling, and history, I seek to engage in a dialogue with Audre’s final decade on this earth (1982 -– 1992), which she spent living in my homeland of St. Croix, and during which three of her most enduring works (Zami, The Cancer Journals, Sister Outsider) were published.

These poems imagine what Audre’s final days might have been like as she existed between two names. They serve as road maps, research questions, possibilities, daydreams, eulogies, and visits home. They imagine the hidden space between the known and what may exist in the archive of a luminous life, and where that life may still visit and make itself clear to us.






Brittany smiles into the camera, their afro frames their face. Brittany is wearing a multicolored striped button down shirt.





Born on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Brittany Jurene Camacho is a proud descendant and scholar of the African Diaspora. She is a library and cultural worker, dancer, and writer. Her work lies at the intersection of the preservation of memory and creation of shared, liberated futures.  

To this end, her writing spans Caribbean and Africana philosophy, circum-Caribbean history, literature, and environments, Blackness, representations and meanings of the body, performance, and world-building through Black queer resistance. Her professional career has included work at the Juilliard School, the New York Public Library for Performing Arts, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Britt is guided and inspired by the ecstatic possibility of bringing worlds we have only dreamed of into being.


Mark