… those who fail to reread are obliged to read the same story everywhere … [Barthes]
What does this paradoxical statement imply? First, it implies that a single reading is composed of the already-read, that what we can see in a text the first time is already in us, not in it; in us insofar as we ourselves are a stereotype, an already-read text; and in the text only to the extent that the already read is that aspect of a text that it must have in common with its reader in order for it to be readable at all. When we read a text once, in other words, we can see in it only what we have already learned to see before.
– Barbara Johnson, The Critical Difference
from “Of Survival, Celebration, and Unlimited Semiosis,” Neveryóna, Samuel Delaney
Crows deliver treasures to all the little black girls. Pearls spill out of their claws and beaks as their flights draw close to their kin. Here, the girls are special ones. When their mothers are pregnant their aunties make dolls, so tender with anticipation sometimes that they fashion the dolls two-headed to contain all their love.
Crows confer divinity with their gifts. Dolls hold guard, steadfast.
Ancestors are more than sensations stored in blood. They wrap you in a safe caul as you drift off to dream away trouble.
Eyes closed, sleeping deeply, you collaborate with enemies as you confront them. Processing, you conquer on another plane of consciousness.
Be wary. Something in the sky isn’t a crow. Can you fight on your own? As you are?
Dolls hold guard, be steadfast now.
Armor on, keep secrets safe.
– Brook Sinkinson Withrow