Aja Monet


“I am a woman carrying other women
in my mouth
behold a sister
a daughter
a mother
dear friend
spirits demystify
on my tongue

they gather to breath
and exhale a dance with the death we know
is not the end all these nameless
bodies haunted by pellet wounds in their chests
listen for them and the saying of a name you cannot pronounce

black and woman is a sort of magic
you cannot hash tag
the mere weight
of it too vast to be held

we hold ourselves
an inheritance felt between the hips
womb of soft darkness portal of light
watch them envy the revolution of our movement
how we break open to give life flow

while the terror of our tears the torment of our taste
my rage
is righteous my love is righteous
my name
be righteous here what I am not here to say
we too have died we know we are dying too

I am not here to say look at me how I died
so brutal a death I deserve a name to fit all the horror in
I am here to tell you how if they mentioned me
in their protest and their rallies
they would have to face their role in it too
my beauty too

I have died many times before
the blow to the body
I have bled
many months before the bullet to the flesh we know
the body is not the end
call it what you will
but for all the handcuffed wrists of us the shackled
ankles of us
the bend over to make room for you
of us how dare we speak anything less
then I love you

we who love just as loudly in the thunderous
rain as when the Sun shines golden on our skin
and the world kisses us unapologetically we
be so beautiful when we be- how you gonna be free
without me

your freedom tied up
with mine at the nappy edge of my soul
singing for all my sisters watch them stretch their
arms and my voice how they fly open chested
toward your ear
listen for
Rekia Boyd, Tanisha Anderson Yvette Smith
Aiyana Jones
Caleb Moore Shelly Frey
Miriam Carey Kendra James
Alberto Spruill, Tarika Wilson,
Shereese Francis
Shantel Davis, Malissa Williams
Darnisha Harris Michelle Cassell
Pearlie Golden, Kathryn Johnston
Eleanor Bumpers, Natasha McKenna
Sheneque Proctor

we will not vanish
and the baited breath of our brothers
show me show me
a man willing to fight beside me
my hand in his the color of courage

there is no mountaintop worth
seeing without us
meet me
in the trenches where we lay our bodies down
in the valley of a voice
say her name”