Longing to Belong

Dk in Lt

girl with eyes too large and

milky teeth fairies must wait

years for in country that ripped

her from Mama locked her in

metal cage no laughter crosses

her howl swells into lost

others’ sounds for families

babies resounds past soiled

dreams strips belonging as

those ripping teach children

how arms are weapons

Thank you to Writers Resist for first publishing “Longing to Belong.”

Independence Reenvisioned

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“America” by Claude McKay, 1921

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

Mackey

Claude McKay was born in Jamaica in 1889.

from ShenandoahLiterary.org

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Communion

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Dividing an elementary class into

boys on one side

girls on the other

invites each to imagine one group’s got

            cooties! cooties! cooties!

and vulnerable to those who thrive on power

yet united, we eliminate disease, produce

thriving meccas of cultural exchange,

launch ourselves through the universe…

 

so if you’re invulnerable to ads and rhetoric,

think about a lemon–

thrust your teeth through thick

yellow skin to release zest’s

zinging scent and swallow

tart

puckering

juice.

That saliva now beading your gums…

(more, pg 30, Tishman Review)

 

Thank you to the editors of The Tishman Review for first publishing this poem.

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Well

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It starts with the heart’s pulse

womb’s embrace

nourishment from other as if self

before we’re spit into this slip slap of blue

deafening white

indifferent ground that shatters bone

if we fall too long

too hard

yet sometimes hands, like whispers,

rustle through loss’s deep well

to retrieve silken strands

rewoven then into something like wings

that expand beyond the contraction of loss

and whisper through the dark

you are not alone.

Thank you to the editors of 5AM for first publishing this poem.