August 2017

She knew herself before she knew herself. She stood among them so certain, even as they all questioned every inch of her, every word. There were no seconds between meeting her and knowing her, between knowing her and needing her. There was nothing between the skin of her and the heart of her.

She taught you how to throw a punch.

She taught you how to sing a note,

She taught you how to see yourself.

She taught you how to know your value in the face of all devaluations. How to know your name as everyone mispronounced it. How to remember the rhythms of your blood when they held their hands over your ears, your eyes.

She taught you what to remember, and what to forget.


Gold once tarnished remains gold,

and the golden are rarely tarnished –

their names remain smiling in the blood of those stuck in their presence,

a present, surely

a gift wrapped in ribbon not meant to be rope,

tying us to this shakiest of all ground.

they never mean this to be a prison

but the prism of them is trap enough for every eye

dumb enough to see them clearly.