Advice For A Black Body For When The Sun Comes Calling

On the days in which my blackness be a burden

My body just a container, a casket.

Mahogany skin cultivated to hold dead things.

I offer my body up

And evaluate my existence

A voice that is my own and yet not

Reminds me of reason

Tells me

                                            "The sun has risen.

                                               You are light so rise with it."

I greet the day and the sun that makes it so.

The sun that made my people possible.

The sun that made us sinful.

That made us beautiful.

My skin was given a name once.

Branded "black" and left for dead.

This name be synonymous with death sometimes.

I am an artifact of ancestors

A relic of a race reincarnated for revenge

To exist despite the efforts of those who wished to destroy you

Is revolutionary

Is some kind of divine

My existence was made holy by the blood that was shed for it.

I am what my ancestors prayed for.


My mother told me my name means gift of life

She says it was given to her by a God I’m not sure exists

A God I'm not sure was sincere

If a white God delivered it, it is blasphemy.

But if a black God delivered it, it is destiny

If God be a black woman

If she gave me this life,

Crafted me in her image

Stitched together from features of black folk

Living and dead

  The neck of a lynched woman

    My mothers nose

    Malcolms hands

    My grandmother’s tongue

It is my duty to rise with the Sun that birthed me

To take up as much space as this body has earned

On those days I can feel my ancestors still fighting through my veins.

When someone attempts to make welcome mat of this body, my blood runs hot

Not in shame but as if to say

Have some respect for the dead

Feel my heartbeat and call it rhythm.

Hands and drums when we had them.

Feet and earth when we didn't.

Call the lump in my throat just bodies clawing their way out of my stomach

Some days I wonder,

    if those with colonizer blood and tombstones for teeth

know who walks amongst them.

The way my footsteps mimic those who came before me.

Know what I have seen.

And maybe

  Just maybe

They are not white with privilege

Or white with purity

 But white with fear

    White with death

           Pale, ashen, bloodless

Maybe that is why they look at me like a ghost sometimes

As if to say






I want to tell them,

That when you are descended from death you can never decay

Only be rebirthed into something continuous.

I wake up, and stand in awe

of the way my existence becomes immortal.

With the way my body becomes a marionette for martyrs to live through

How I construct out of myself a bridge to connect the past and the future

I don't think it a coincidence that my mother writes like Maya Angelou

Or that my cousin's eyes speak of rivers

Or how there is more history tucked into the coils of my hair than any textbook

Because even after our graves have been desecrated,

The bones of the dead will be used as kindling for the fire.

For the fueling

For a better tomorrow

So today I will live

I will live

For this life is my inheritance.

This poem is about: 
My family
Our world


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