my mother says that I came into this world Fighting
fists clenched, two months too early
born beneath a clouded november sky
on the verge of
in third grade I met a boy
who (without consent) laid claim to
this crown of corkscrew curls
said girls my color
were too dark to be pretty.
so I showed him the Pain of this Beauty.
and my mother was angry (she hadn’t meant that type of fighter)
and I learned that violence is not the way we win wars
But also, that silence is not the way we save lives.
I remember the shooting of Trayvon Martin
like the worst scene of the worst movie.
an emptiness, then an ancestral burning
in the chasm of my chest like a long-held hurting;
losing all of the feeling in this one body, learning
what it means to share this burden of sorrow as a People.
now, so many names lifted like prayers, they bleed
together, ashes and dust
Returned to the Earth: We bleed Together.
and my mother wrapped me in arms that kept the universe from falling
and I learned that to be black and alive is to battle for each breath
but also, that Alive is not Living.
so when the need to Speak came like burning
in the back of my throat and tightness in my chest,
I returned to my Roots: lifted my eyes and bowed my head
pressed uncertain pen to certain Destiny
promising that We are more than this
great inhumane human Tragedy.
when this earthen monument crumpled and
Home became but a word, We rose
And called ourselves Pioneers of a Better Future;
a Safe Place in the spaces between
Now and Forever: We called it Ours.
and my mother became the chief architect of a narrative spanning generations of black bodiesand I learned that this growing is as collective as this grieving.but also, there is still so much work to be done. and I've found no Future, if not fromthe footsteps of our forefathers,come to know Hope as Ours (not merely mine),this Movement, a million voices drawing us towards a Futurewhere Black Lives Matterand Love is Lovewhere Healthcare is a Rightand Prison Reform is Possiblewhere A Woman's Right to Her Body is Her Ownand No Person is Illegal. I am learning to beSomething beyond this body; a Revival.Which is to say that I am still finding my voice.
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