After school my brother slinks
into the blue shade of the pines.
Every year it seems, he... [+]
In the country of your birth,
you learn to call redeemer,
to call magician, to call the
in a tongue that your father
was never fathered in.
You learn fear is not enough to
Your mother names
you without consent,
burns your father’s tongue—
before giving you the sort of strength
August children are born with.
How do you dream of a
place you never remember?
You have dreams that are surreal—
dreams about grandparents
who crossed the Sahara as Bedouins.
Their black skins splintered into brown.
Remember you are not the daughter your
mother wished to have—
Daughter with chocolate skin, oiled scalp,
daughter whom God has no photograph of.
Who houses a language in a
body that is too foreign.
Your mother's prayer
is for you to be a better mother.
To daughter your daughters
better than you are daughtered.
You might not bother
shaking off the war in you.