Bush Tea
Nichelle Johnson

When I asked my Mom
what was in Grandma’s tea
she says she does not know
does not remember
I think this is a lie
a way to get away from 
the Africanness of it all
I bug her some more and 
she says she thinks it was just eucalyptus
this stings
I think it is another lie
I think of the leaves that my grandmother gathered
was a way of honoring her ancestors
something my mother rebukes
my mother walked the academic halls
way above fried fish and grits
liver and onions
not cooked in her house
but my grandma’s bush tea 
kept me whole
kept me safe
after she died
i got the flu for the first time
and my mother could only 
offer me Lipton


Nichelle Johnson is a writer who rediscovered her passion for poetry after taking part in the Tongues of Fire writing workshops at the Audre Lorde Project. She was a part of that workshop for three years. After a blocked period, she began to be a regular participant of the Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon (WWBPS). She has featured at the 2 1/2 year celebration of WWBPS at Bluestockings Bookstore; the Glitter Pomegranate reading series in Brooklyn; and the Rainbows Across the Diaspora Reading series at Dixon Place in NYC.

Her poems have been published in The Voices Project, La Bloga and the Mom Egg Review’s VOX Mom Column.

She makes a living by consulting as a Database Manager.

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