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.