by Martina “Mick” Powell
watch your reflection in me,
girls with wild hair and
frantic fingers if you want
to make a change, you’ve got to moveyou’ve
got to learn how they make
monsters of our men and
warriors of our women—you were—
a bounty on a head because it’s
got ideas, lightning bolts between the
breasts between the
breaths—how did you learn to breathe
it in for so long? i want to
walk in your shadow until the stench
of jail cells and unmonitored violence
martyrdom and sanctity and piousness
they say you were the perfect candidate
because you were—
may i ask you your name again?
heart pierced by talons you want to rip
your flesh not your hair texture bone
behind skin you
are not “I’m try to make a change” or
out-of-range, you are gone beyond
belief, faintly floating
Assata, they solicited us to killed
tupac and then they
facilitated the murder of biggie and homicidal
do they know how it feels, that i can’t
let my brother roam,
because Trayvon Martin couldn’t buy an
a, and i’m sorry about
martin & malcolm, sorry about never
name is mine, which name is mine, which
name is mine?
i’m sorry for wishing i was white, then
wishing i was dead, and the only thing
wished that never came true was that i—
wished i was you.
If you ever dare to fall in love again,
full fledge, all-in, the “i will go to prison for you” love,
the “i will hold my breath and count to ten
thousand for you” love, the “i will break bones, bawling
beyond basic belief” love, the “cerebral contortion,
love, the “i vow to never use black
and ugly in the same sentence again
unless there is a
in between them” love, the “radical times call for the
radicalization of a nation bent on assimilation, bent on erasing the black, til
all that’s left is the blood” love,
the “i’ve never loved like this before but i promise until
every inch of this brown body is scarred in my fight you,
i’ll ignite for you,
this life for you—is yours” love,
Assata, if you ever put up those
scarred arms, wild hair, frantic fingers
balled into a fist, the fist,
if you ever dare to fall in love again,
i promise this time
it won’t make you run away.
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Mick is a junior studying Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, African American Studies, and Creative Writing at the University of Connecticut. She likes good novels, good poetry, and good company in no particular order.
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