The Chil’ren Might Know

we once was warriors
bone sharp and tangling up
wit whatever wild was in the world
before some ships rolled in
wit folk we ain’t never seen
brandin iron and bullet men
claimin everythin
leavin misery

they know we ain’t always
been so lowly
so feverish wit brokenness
so in   fil   trated
maybe they can look past

the bruises
to see when we
were bigger underneath
and forgive us our frailty
we was overcome
wit the kind of
meanness that don’t care
about nothin but
feedin itself

we had hands once
and a river to bathe in

and names
full names
that called us home.

the chil’ren might know that
if they lookin at us right

we lost our mouths
‘cross a mighty mighty ocean.
coulda died but we don’t know how…

From Anarcha Speaks: A History in Poems. Copyright © 2018 by Dominique Christina. Reprinted with permission from Beacon Press, Boston, Massachusetts.