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The River Where Blood Is Bornby Sandra Jackson-Opoku
Synopses & Reviews
Love at Waterfall
Even now in the hereafter, I still savor the taste of something sweet. I
offer no excuse for myself. In mortal life the elders warned that if I
habitually raided hives, I would come to know bee sting. That if I
wallowed so much in sweetness, I would find it difficult to endure in
times of want.
But you know the proverb. Too much advice is no advice. My discipline was
lax and I overindulged, mouth relaxing open to the nectar of wildflowers,
the sap of sun-ripened fruits. I enjoyed the tang of my husband's honey
long after I had become an elder myself.
It is said that only when a woman passes childbearing, does she come into
her full power. Her menses, no longer spent monthly, returns to nourish
its host. Her womb closes onto itself like a cowrie shell, a shrine no man
is meant to enter. But I was my husband's only wife. How could I deny him
conjugal bliss in his old age? How could I deny myself?
And here I stand, Gatekeeper of the Great Beyond. There are no men in this
village, there have never been. It is a thing we never thought to
question. We are spirit workers, women who have transcended life's earthly
But at times I find myself seized by longings I thought lost in the body I
left behind. The memory of hard hands at the curve of my back. The
surrender of self to the sweetness of flesh. There is a very thin line
between wish and prayer; taboos may be broken in spirit, as well as the
flesh. It is on account of such indiscretion that we may all be punished.
The moment which would disrupt our way of life and forever trouble the
surface of our tranquil waters happens as I take my sunset constitutional.
Those times when work has ended and a woman wants a moment to be alone
with her own needs. And love always tastes sweetest at twilight.
May I draw you a map? My path to perdition leads downhill toward the first
cataract which feeds the River Where Blood Is Born. It twists like a snake
through the forest, descending to meet the water at its own level. We come
upon a spot just beyond the warm-water inlet where cocoons await their
blossoming into birth, near the bridge these unborn daughters eventually
cross over into life.
It is as in the inexorable course of lovemaking. Where river rushes toward
land's end, it has no recourse. It must rebecome, must leave the earth and
meet the air. Must hang suspended, fracturing the waning light. And float,
rather than fall.
The cascade murmurs like the musical moan from deep within a man's chest.
Each drop drifts earthward to collect itself into a shimmering pool of
joy, before gathering momentum to float onward.
Our meeting at the bottom of the waterfall has happened so often, it has
become ritual. I call him, and he becomes. His body, flint black and
shiny, emerges from the rock face beneath the tumbling waters. He moves
toward me and I am ready.
His breath is the wind that lifts my wrapper and I pirouette, shameless as
a young girl in mating dance. My skirts billow above my waist like sails.
With no amoasi to stay my comfort, I settle my seminakedness into a curve
of stone worn smooth by water, warmed by sun. I open my legs and wait,
prepared for the familiar rush of sensation; the kiss of set
This astonishing novel takes us on a journey along the river of one family's history, carving a course across two centuries and three continents, from ancient Africa into today's America. Here, through the lives of Mother Africa's many daughters, we come to understand the real meaning of roots: the captive Proud Mary, who has been savagely punished for refusing to relinquish her child to slavery; Earlene, who witnesses her father's murder at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan; Big Momma, a modern-day matriarch who can make a woman of a girl; proud and sassy Cinnamon Brown, whose wild abandon hides a bitter loss; and smart, ambitious Alma, who is torn between the love of a man and the song of her soul.
In The River Where Blood Is Born, the seen and unseen worlds are seamlessly joined--the spirit realms where the great river goddess and ancestor mothers watch over the lives of their descendants, both the living and those not yet born. Stringing beads of destiny, they work to lead one daughter back to her source. But what must Alma sacrifice to honor the River Mother's call?
Table of Contents
Headwaters — Estuary — Backwater — Tributaries — Confluence — Watershed.
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