Why I Love of Angelina

On the island where I grew up, all the women look like Angelina Jolie. The women like to call themselves Angelina in honor of the real Angelina Jolie. Many say that Angelina is their cousin, their niece, their long-lost child. Like Angelina, they all have hair the color of crow’s wings, and their lips are fat from centuries of sucking mollusks from the sand. Their hair smells of seaweed, their skin of low tide. Occasionally one of our women is born with webbed feet and hands. They swim for long hours in the ocean, catch fish with their open mouths, and dive forty feet down for conchs and oysters and rare anemones. Like Angelina, all our women are fertile, so fertile that a single woman can populate an entire village. Some are said to have populated entire nations. Even if they have no children of their own, the women adopt them. They adopt lost souls, too: street children, dogs, cats, pigeons, dolphins. And the sharks who swim close to taste the blood when it flows freely from between their swimming legs, but who rarely bite our women. Yes, even the sharks are loved by our women. The women know, as only our women can, the difference between the sharks who open their mouths wide to say, “I love you Angelina,” and the sharks who are too hungry to know the difference between dinner and love.

Nin Andrews is the editor of a book of translations of the French poet Henri Michaux entitled Someone Wants to Steal My Name from Cleveland State University Press. She is also the author of several books including The Book of Orgasms, Why They Grow Wings, Midlife Crisis with Dick and Jane, Sleeping with Houdini, and Dear Professor, Do You Live in a Vacuum. Her book, Southern Comfort, was published by CavanKerry Press in 2009 and was a finalist for the 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize.