Ode to Cousin Quita / by Britta Badour

Sitting on the stoop
Daydreaming 'bout the nights we used to
Crawl with our favourite cousin
Crescendoing like roaches undoing
From the cupboards onto
Grandma’s
Front yard
Hugging mason jars too big to be held by one hand
Swooping
Like songbirds into the swallow
Of a billion and one lightening bugs 

I see my cousin Ebonée
Who is boom-bap blacker than me
Electrocute herself with maturity
She takes her fingernails and plucks
The wings of her big sister Quita
Wears them as if they were her own... a pair of heels, a set of earrings,
Pads of eye shadow… 
I sit, and I see
Pressing playback on all of Quita's Best Cassettes

Cousin Quita was the coolest of us
We looked up to her
Her taste in music gave us life!
When we asked for her advice
Something like a forest fire in her eyes
Smouldering peace of mind from
Light years away  

Where words was unwilling or weak
A symphony of smiles on-beat she’d speak 

Last Christmas,
Cousin Quita
The friendliest firefly in the mason jar of our family tree
Had her light stolen before our eyes and bended knees

I wonder
What the ex-boyfriend who calls himself a man
The little boy
Who squeezed the nectar from my cousin's neck
I wonder
What music he was caressed and consumed with
The moment he took her last breath