what place do bodies of color have in this coated american legacy,
with loaded guns like white heresies, down beyond the red counties,
where they were led to slaughter, to endure the bleachings, all by fire,
& told to listen to pale, masked, moscato abolitionism in a marked
place entirely shaken by the truth-roots of a living, breathing racism?
white milkmother, how i wish that i could be sorry for you, wish that
i could drink that suburban honey with you when/but/i have my own
honeycombs waxing & waning in my womb, yes lord, golden-pearls
in place of those birthright-blue-green eyes of you & yours. tell me,
what god is audacious enough to claim this world, where i learned to
languish for the tongues of colonizers & called it poise? a coy world
where i’ll not ignore the color of my skin, no, nevermore, & somewhere
a beautiful, dark magdelena sobs, continues to hold us on her shoulders.
what would i say then? a refrain to my own child: “welcome, daughter to
a world where our pasts, presents, & appointed futures are deftly woven
into nooses & latitudes & vicissitudes. we can recall a time, once, when in
a dreamlike state we dared still pine for, when we closed our ethnic eyes
toward, a big, bright town library & thought it was so rightly a castle in
the sky.” & what place do we have in this dragged world? a world where
too late do mothers tell their daughters, “you are not an island,
woman.” mother, mommy, i know. i have always known.
Hyun-Joo Kim is working on a Ph.D. in African history at the Ohio State University. She has published poems in the Elevation Review (forthcoming), eris & eros, Rising Phoenix Review, Visible Magazine, and Collision Literary Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: hyun_joo_kim
Photo by Soroush Karimi.