failure of an invention

i am not any of the faces
you have put on me america

every mask has slipped
i am not any of the names

or sounds you have called me
the tones have nearly

made me deaf
this dark skin, both of us

have tried to bleach
i can smell the cancer.

this thick hair, these thick lips
both of us have tried to narrow

begging entrance through
the needle of your eye

some of me broken
in the squeeze

and even as i carry
a bone of yours in my back

your soul america
no matter what we’ve tried

i’ve never been able to bear

:: Safiya Henderson-Holmes, Madness and a Bit of Hope (1990)

1 comment:

  1. I remember reading this incredible piece way back in the late 1990s. Thank you for posting this fantastic poem by a legion hardly named.