i wonder if in some other lifetime

i was a slave

i wonder if i was a girl-slave

around the corner

in this here America

i wonder if i was a mixed-girl-slave

who had some of the same questions,

those liminal questions,

that i have now.

i wonder if i resisted

i wonder whose whip was worse: the master’s or the mistress’

when she found out who the father was

did i even try not to cry

or did i wail so hard, so long,

so hard so long

that the screams of childbirth

sounded like a lullabye in comparison

in this here and now,

there are places on my back that make me jump at the touch.

three hundred year-old places

where my skin remembers


and when i was untied,



did my brothers pick me up

and carry me back to what home


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