Thank You the Ancestors Who Loved Me

— Ayokunle Falomo

after Ross Gay

O thank you, thank you. For loving me before you knew
Me. Thank you, grandpa Jeremiah’s hands, for holding
A gun (or more, perhaps) and yet did not become one,
Or any weapon at all. Thank you. And thank you grandpa
Isaiah’s hands, for uprooting weeds long before my father
Was even a thought. Hands that became reverse-telescopes,
Thank you. For showing a boy the beauty of what is near,
What dirt has to offer. For what was tucked deep inside
The stomach of the earth, which I believe still feeds us.
Even now. Thank you my father’s hands. Thank you
My grandmothers’ hands—for everything you kept alive.
Thank you my mother’s hands, O anti-gravity, thank
You. For all that will, because of you, never touch
The ground. O thank you, too, hands of mine, for how
Today you make yourselves useful by carrying the bucket
My father draws from to water what he buries in the ground.

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