*All italics in parentheses are excerpts from Unmothered, A.J. Akoto’s debut poetry collection, published by Arachne Press in July 2023.
My mother dreamed me before she even knew she was pregnant. The message of me came from her grandmother. Her dead grandmother. Woman to woman, across realms, whether real or in the imagination-soaked field of my mother’s subconscious, they communicated. I sometimes wonder if my mother and I would talk more if one of us were dead (Dreams are a gathering place,/ after all. Is she meeting me/ where she can?). Then again, the silence between us is so populated – by memories, stories, aunts trying to push me into contact – that it makes me question what it really means to no longer talk to someone. Especially when that someone is your mother.