With their crushed shells
leaving whole outlines
to continue a life’s journey
to die with hope
to die far from home
seventeen years ago
if only they knew theirs would
be lives with purpose
lives that fascinate yet distilled to
spectacles of fragility
Mine is a lifespan
born to this generation
lived within the instinct of
patriarchy, defined by judgement
gender, skin, and traditions
unclothe to an arrangement
a shell within a shell
transparent and declawed
I see them crawling
stuck to trees, hubcaps, decks
mingling to a finality
glorious — rising
simply to be more
Still, I rise like a cicada
Armored with caution and mission,
Burrowing and nesting through
A pandemic that became a cage.
Shackling stresses and identity
Politics to titanium like nooses.
Remembered, freedoms of life and liberty
My body is beholden only to me.
It can’t be broken and discarded
to the whims of concrete and a knee.
I shed my cicada exoskeleton,
Some crushed it on sidewalks like crockery.
If they just knew what I learnt?
The knee on George’s Floyd neck
Was six degrees of generations from
The Wounded Knee Massacre.
I soar wearing my new skin,
I am more like me
And less like me
The world is round like me
And flat like me
I awake to morns of flooding discontent
Full to naysayers, and less to gratitude
My ego is a tidal swell
More to likes and less to comments
Hunger fortifies like scales on a bass
And less like the Sequoia’s prickly leaves
My bubble is - home
More to safety, and less to anxieties
I am the anchor of roots
Webbed tendrils to a mighty trunk
I feel the warmth of color when the day is longer
Than the darkening Nimbostratus clouds
A Faithful Pilgrimage Feeding My Light
I know the burden of walking
Darken streets to my car
I was just a girl, now a woman.
Trepidation, a daily foe
Expectations and traditions
With this gift, I deny my feet
The comfort of concrete
I soar above the trees
Waving my limbs to caress
Branches not rooted in doubt.
I am out of sight and mind -
One with unfurled petals, taunted
By the winds of wisdom
Soothing without purpose or vanity
To see me, you will know
The shape of my lips
Shadow of a rouge…