BY ANGEL NALUBEGA.
as a child, i was raised to believe in God’s will.
that if it is God’s will, He can take us as quickly as He brought us.
everyone returns home.
these bodies are not ours.
this land is not our own.
we are Borrowing, borrowing, borrow-ing
who we are from those we know.
i could not borrow anything from my grandmother.
She was entirely her own, and i envied that.
i wanted to become more than what i thought i was.
When i was with my jjaja, i didn’t have to pretend.
after she slept, i returned to the land of my grandmother.
matoke and mango trees.
aunties praying for me to get married, pinching my cheeks, saying, “You’re too big, but soon
you’ll have a husband!”
chickens and ducks and cattle.
we drove four hours to her village.
i touched the earth that my grandmother is resting in.
Her tomb is her home now.
It will be my home.
i swept the graves of my people, my ancestors.
i washed their feet and prayed for their guidance.
Prayed for their souls and prayed for mine.
i can hear my taata omuto saying. “Do not forget the land.”
“The land is where we came from
& the land is where we return.
do not forget those who live in the countryside, who take care of your ancestral lands.
they tried to kill us. take everything from us. but we have this land.”
staring at the banana leaves reminds me
that hope is a discipline
& the land reminds me to work hard. tend my sheep.
to love my people & eat my bananas.
the land reminds me that to hate is to sin.
to reject the land is to reject the thing that makes me human.
i have lost my soul many times. every time,
i find my soul among the leaves.
of the saints who’ve blessed the land with their tears, their blood, their pain.
it reminds me of the struggle.
of what it means to be a revolutionary.
angel nalubega is buganda, of the ngabi clan. they write about the intersections of blackness, mental illness, and liberation theology. they are a communist educator, pastoral associate, community organizer, and friend. they live in philadelphia, on lenni lenape & delaware land. they can be reached at @angxlthenerd on twitter.