Brown Girl Has Walked Into the Wild, Palms Open
See how she lists. The body is bent as light, as wind will it. And so you must tread light. Mind the rocks under foot. You must tread slow. There has been drought; see where water has long ago troughed, has carved her. See how she branches, twisting, her many hands reaching. Her roots also reach, sweetened from reaching. When fire arrives, she toughens. She will slough away the thick. She will be slick, and dark beneath the rough. She will mimic the fire her bones remember. Know her bones glisten. See how she rests. The body will fall, as time wills it. See how it hollows, how her pieces return to earth. And from her thick trunk, mushrooms cluster— Her belly a nest of moss and poison. When broken open, see what of her mother she has kept, what of her father, what of the stars.
Copyright © 2018 by Barbara Jane Reyes. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 29, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.