sanctified children

on the emergence of blackgirl spirit form
+ the discovery of inner wisdom


i often stare
at how fire
dances, and
wonder if
ever i could
be that free

i often notice
what wind does
to tree, and
wonder if she’s
fighting or
dancing. i be

moving my body
like art in my mirror
making play thing
out my own skin
making graceful
out the clumsy
hips of me. i be

moving like a
boom. i be
catching holy
ghosts when im
dancing. doing
the booty moves
i never got to do
in my mamas house


sanctified children
don’t do no sin

sanctified children
don’t drink no gin


and i be sippin on
sparklin cider till
the sun come up

and i be twerkin on
clouds till the crumbs
drunk up. i be

moon walking down
destiny lane when
womanhood runs up

and im just a kid
stuck in sin
searching for new
mothers to mother
me. to rebirth me into
freedom i never


when i be in my
room i become
all the women
i was afraid to be
when i was a child
when i was alone

in someone else’s
sanctified house
where sin was just
dressed in different


sanctified children
don’t play with ghosts
sanctified children
don’t do no toasts


and i be
every ancestral
alchemy that
come to me. and i
be crying the tears
god’s children wasn’t
pose to cry bc we was
pose to have died
and came back to life
happy. born again
believers gots to always
be happy. joy, joy deep
down in my soul?

why pain gots to be
a saitin? why rain can’t
be holy, too? i be
dancing and drinking
sparklin cider in my room
and i be making friends with
sadness, too. and i be

black womb magic in my
bedroom. i be redefining
god for myself. i be
meeting the gods i was
ashamed of. i be ancestral
astral planing into my own


what happens at night
when the fire fades?
when the clouds collide
and the nighttime sways?

i settle into a two step
with sorrow. release shame
about the weight of its
wounding me. i cuddle
up with discomfort. i
tuck myself in beside
lonely. i learn this is not
such a bad thing.


i am bursting outside
boxes of sanctified
like holy wine

i am a womxn now
a womxn who dances with fire
who does not do well with
that which is not real. i am a
healer now. of my self. of my
wounds. of my shadows. i am
discovering now, what sits
well with my spirit, and what


no one knows how to hold
the truths that rest
beneath my bones

so i dance my hips into them
i stretch my skin out to them
these truths that burst from
depths of me. these knowings
i been holding since girlhood

i candance them free, i can
dance them free. i can move
my waist and i can set me free

reelaviolette botts-ward is an ARC Spring 2021 Poetry and the Senses fellow. This poem was written while on fellowship.