My body is
perfect and
imperfect and
Black and
girl and
big and
thick hair and
short legs and
scraped knee and
healed scar and
heart beating and
hands that hold and
voice that bellows and
feet that dance and
arms that embrace and
my momma’s eyes and
my daddy’s smile and
my grandma’s hope and

my body is masterpiece and
my body is mine.

From Watch Us Rise (Bloomsbury, 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Renée Watson. Reprinted by permission of the author. 

            I am born in a field
of cornflowers and ripe wheat
            wind in the black gum trees            
                        late afternoon before the storm
and the men are cutting the field
            working the mower in circles
                        coming in and in
toward the center of the field
            where I crouch down
                        with the rabbits, with the quail
driven into this space by the clackety mower
            because I want to see
                        how the body goes still
how the mind, how the lens of the eye
            magnifies to an emptiness
                        so deep, so flared wide
there is everywhere field and the Source
            of field, and only
                        a quiver of the nose
or the flick of a top-knot feather, a ripple
            so faint I may have imagined it, says
                        yes, says no
to the nearing rustle in the last stand of wheat—
            and now it’s quiet, too quiet
                        a soft trample
a click, the cocking sound, a swish
            as the men steal in to take
                        what they want
they are clever, they are hungry
            and because this one body is
                        my birthplace
my birthright, my only homeplace
            my nest and burrow and bower
                        I understand
my mother is wheat, my father is wind
            and I rise in a tall gust
                        of rage and compassion
I rise up from the mown and edible
            debris of the world
                        wrapped in a bright
net of pollen and stars, my thighs
            twin towers of lightning
                        and my voice
I am a storm of voices, snipe and wolf
            snow goose, dolphin, quail, and lark—
                        Stop this. Stop it now
I say to the men, who stalk closer
            keen on the kill, late light
                        on the steel of their rifles
and they are my brothers—they are my brothers
            and I love them, too
                        Look into my eyes
I tell them. See for yourself the one shining field
            Look into my eyes
                        before you shoot

From One Body (LSU Press, 2007). Copyright © 2007 by Margaret Gibson. Used with the permission of the author.