Squeeze my finger one last time,
your stubby digits enclosed around
my knuckles. You look just like
your father before they disfigured
his face with iron muzzle, bit
down his tongue on rusted metal.
I will always remember the way your
eyes slowly open, adjusting to the
morning sun, how you upchuck just
a little on my breast from nursing
too hurriedly. Let that hunger for
your mother never go away—
Even when you can no longer hear my
voice, when my touch is cool, faint
from the distance, when they beat
you ’til your back blisters open and
your muslin shirt irritates the
wounds my hands cannot heal.
Your cries will echo forever, and
one day when this system crumbles
on its head, and our chains are
broken free, I’ll follow them North,
like the brightest stars in the sky,
’til my embrace calms you once more.
© 2016-2023 Nortina Simmons
Originally published February 17, 2016.
Welcome to Day 17 of Black Poetry Writing Month (aka BlaPoWriMo)! BlaPoWriMo is a month-long challenge to write a poem every day during the month of February (Black History Month) related to Black history, Black people, or the Black experience.
Today’s optional prompt is: Write a poem that hopes for a brighter day.