it's hard to believe i'm ***FLAWLESS sometimes

but looking at the evidence, who can deny?

with the way syncopated drum rhythms wrap around my head like a crown

or the way funk wraps around my hips as i shimmy them down?


they try to tell us the poetry that is the BLACK GIRL

is a BLACK SMUDGE on the world

with her loud voice and loud body that don't fit in 

she is only good with her mouth shut

her lips zipped

her eyes cast down

only good if her hips have a gentle curve


the only way a black girl can be 


is if she is cut

and pulled

and stuck back together

with pieces missing.


she must never want.

never raise her voice.

because that's what is expected of her.

she cannot cry, love too hard.

because that's what is expected of her.

she cannot make mistakes. she cannot be human. she cannot breathe. 

because that's what is expected of her.


i have long since wanted to be 

a caged bird that taught itself to sing

(a girl who could find happiness in the expectations of others).

i learned from my mother that happiness can only be found in beauty

and that cannot be found in nature. 

it can't be found in

free-form poetry,

in sun made skin,

in kinky hair that catches the light.


i'm older now, and i know that's a lie. 

beauty is found in mine

in my hair, in my skin, in my lips, in my eyes.


i look at that beyoncé and that nicki

that lupita, that taraji

that chimamanda, gabrielle

that janet mock and that janelle

that laverne and viola davis

and see the BLACK GIRL is not to be defined by you,

or her, or him, or them,

but by herself

by myself


it's hard to believe i'm ***FLAWLESS sometimes,

but looking at the evidence, who can deny?

with the way i move like the ancestors are guiding me,

using the stars to train and right me?

teaching me to be strong with the way the world fights me?

and showing me grace with how i emerge,

covered in soil and fragrant blossoms, pride and wisdom to see

that there is power in black, there is wonder in woman

there is gloriousness in you,

and there is ***FLAWLESS in me.





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