Qwo-Li Driskill


Gather riverbank clay
to make a bowl

Fill it with hot tears

Strap it to your back
with spider silk

Keep your flint knife close
to ward off death
and slice through umbilical cords

Be prepared for blood

Born without a womb
I wait for the crown of fire
the point where further stretching is impossible
This birth could split me
I nudge each syllable into movement
Memorize their smells
Listen to their strange sleepy sounds
They shriek with hunger and loss
I hold them to my chest and weep milk
My breasts are filled with tears

I wrap my hair around their small bodies
a river of owl feathers

See they whisper We found you
We made a promise

This time we’ll be more careful
Not lose each other in
the chaos of slaughter

We are together at sunrise
from dust we sprout love and poetry
We are home
Greeting our ancestors
with rare and tender tongues