Amey Victoria Adkins

Amey Victoria Adkins lives, learns and writes along the canals in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She has an MDiv from Duke Divinity School and is a PhD Candidate in Religion (Christian Theological Ethics) at Duke University. Rooted in Mariology, her dissertation offers a theological account of the global sex trade and trafficking.

Psalms for Ferguson | Ad(vent) Nauseum

I.

The womb-waters of creation dance at the emergence, an archipelago of cells drawing together as island of flesh. Drowned in amniotic fluid, the growing assemblage that is the human embryo does not draw breath.
While yet submerged, she never needs to.

Instead, as flourishing lungs stretch for room to breathe, her mother hosts
her body as surrogate to her inhalation. She breathes in her place, on her behalf. Maternal oxygen pirouettes across the surface of the placenta, the delivery room of bloods in exchange transgressing the fetal borderlands. An ancestral discontinuity that, unable to touch, most
certainly feels.
While yet submarine, she grows stronger.

There is neither light nor air in the echoes of the womb chamber. But her soul quickens.
With each moment she mimics the movements of air, assured it too will soon come.
She will be ready.

 

Practice.

Kicks that come like sun flares

are just that—

small miracles I love to watch.

Yet I look away

lest they hurt my eyes.

Practice.

Quivering nostrils.

She practices.

Heaving ribs.

Practice.

Growing bones, liver, appendix.

Practice.

Chest rise, belly fall.

Practice.

 

No breath, yet breathing.

On life support, yet living.

 

II.

 

I ask your prayers for the departed,

[especially,

Mike.

Eric.

Tamir.

Tanisha.

Aura.

Aiyana.

Akai.

_____].

 

Pray for those who have died.

 

Silence. 

 

III.

How long, O Lord?

ad infinitum,

ad nauseum,

 

IV.

 

a quote:

I know that what I am asking is impossible.

But in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can
demand—

and one is, after all, emboldened by the spectacle of human history in
general,

and American Negro history in particular,

for it testifies to nothing less than the perpetual achievement of the
impossible.

James Baldwin,

The Fire Next Time

 

V.

 

I am running out of faith to lose.

-t

 

VI.

 

Mary, did you know?

That your body is the condition

of possibility

in the midst

of impossibility?

 

Hail, Mary.

Pregnant mother of God.

Theotokos.

The Advent of Our Lord In Utero.

OUR GOD WHO CANNOT BREATHE.

 

Do not speak to me of your peace.

Breath-blood smeared on undeserving doors.

Taste the memories of morning sickness on the back of my tongue.

Rejoice, Emmanuel

Shall come to thee.

Manifest by the shadowing of the Spirit.

So why are you afraid of the dark?

Dark flesh.

Dark matter.

Dark matters.

Black matters.

Black lives matter.

Who told you the lie

that there was

ever a time when

this was not?

 

Nausea. Exhaustion. Rage.

God help us

if our backs are not bowed in labor.

if our bodies are not swollen with tears.

if our throats are not coarse with our cries.

if our stomachs are not sick with repulsion.

these symptoms of pregnancy.

Perhaps

we do not carry

Christ within us

as we think?

 

VII.

 

Words of institution:

Do not take. Do not eat.

Choke on bodies felled.

 

The voice of one suffocating in the Wilderness:

This world is out of air.

 

insist

insist

insist

on breathing

anyway