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Written for this year’s Charleston Wine + Food and just in time for International Women’s Day, Charleston’s poet laureate, Marcus Amaker, presents a new poem, “a divine feminine,” which you can listen to now on YouTube.

Leave it to Amaker to write something beautiful, timely, powerful — you get the idea. And seriously, listen to the YouTube version, with Amaker reading his own words. His voice lends so much more meaning to the already poignant memories.

“a divine feminine” invokes the memory of Amaker’s grandmother, Georgia Mae Jones, an extraordinary cook, and strong female figure in his life. Read the whole poem below.

if you believe
superheroes didn’t exist,
then you never knew
Georgia Mae Jones.
My grandmother.

she could have
saved the world
with her poundcake –
it had just the right amount of sugar
to defeat any evil
inside of you,

it could
turn a sour weakness
into sweetness,
take your tastebuds
to hyperspace,
and awaken the superpowers
of your senses.

her heroic hands
held secrets.
magic spells
mixed into recipes,
an infusion of soul,
the miracle
of a black woman’s
kitchen.

food was one
of her many
strengths,
and it was the one thing
that always brought
my family together.

my life’s story
was a gift
through experience,
a moveable feast of memory
that followed me
from childhood to adulthood,
influencing the way
i now interact with flavor,
defining my
standard
of perfection.

i invite you
to rediscover your
story.
to re-read
the ingredients
of your life written by
the supernatural wisdom
of women.

Maybe it’s
a divine feminine
that flows through you,
a spellbinding strength
embedded in
your breath,

maybe it’s a matriarch’s
recipe passing through generations
as you pass through
life.

Or maybe
it’s the awareness
that your story
is our story,

and we are permanently
connected
by this
consciousness.