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Grade
11

oh, say can you see an america

of star-spangled black girls

with midnight skin

that are not but fleeting existences?

 

in this america,

a star-spangled black girl

stands by the dawn’s early light,

drowning herself in winter

& gasping in whiteness.

 

her body is tethered

to the red & white noose

that hangs heavy around her neck.

she always pulls herself

far enough from its fatal grasp

to touch another part of the world,

(or so she believes),

only to be anchored back

to america’s soil

and never allowed opportunity

to run free again.

 

at the twilight’s last gleaming,

america observes the decrescendo

of a star-spangled black girl’s body

so gallantly streaming

across the russet earth

she is dragged from.

 

it is no secret that she blazes

in the scintillating sun—

& the rocket’s red glare

melting into puddles of shadows

as she endlessly searches

for an america that will love her.

 

in her dreams, she watches angels,

that gave proof through the night,

lift her into shackles & abandon

her in their own flight towards liberty.

 

she awakes to find

that our flag was still there

to capture her every holy act,

every round lipped,

cocoa butter prayer good night.

 

It is this same flag

that calls to her with promise,

yet, swallows her whole

in its torn fabric,

its obsidian mouth.

 

it is this america,

where she catapults

herself into the sky.

dissolving in its ebony encore,

she curls, like an ampersand,

o’er the land of the free.

 

she pauses at the vertex of the north star,

seeking the home of the brave.

& every time, she turns up empty-handed.

State
FL
Zip Code
33027