When my upstairs neighbor invites me to her baby shower, 

                I feel guilty about forgetting to bring in my recycling bins, 

again. I am a bad neighbor, but she’s going to be a mother 

                so she’ll have to practice forgiveness on someone first. Usually, 

I’m a people pleaser. I am a people. I was born 

                with all the people I could ever create, inside me. I try 

to forgive them—their dirty handprints on my skirt, the towels

                left on the bathroom floor. We blessed the baby 

while we tied around our wrists one long, red string. 

                For a moment, the string connected us—wives, mothers, 

and me, neither—until it didn’t, until the scissors severed 

                us, made a bracelet of the blood string. I told the baby, 

I give you this wrist. The world will break all your blessings

                if it wants, and believe me, baby, most of the time, it wants.

Copyright © 2024 by Diannely Antigua. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 1, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Nobody wants to die on the way
caught between ghosts of whiteness
and the real water
none of us wanted to leave
our bones
on the way to salvation
three planets to the left
a century of light years ago
our spices are separate and particular
but our skins sing in complimentary keys
at a quarter to eight mean time
we were telling the same stories
over and over and over.

Broken down gods survive
in the crevasses and mudpots
of every beleaguered city
where it is obvious
there are too many bodies
to cart to the ovens
or gallows
and our uses have become
more important than our silence
after the fall
too many empty cases
of blood to bury or burn
and there will be no body left
to listen
and our labor
has become more important
than our silence

Our labor has become
more important
than our silence.

Copyright © 1978 by Audre Lorde, from THE COLLECTED POEMS OF AUDRE LORDE by Audre Lorde. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.