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The Such Thing As the Ridiculous Question –

By Siaara Freeman

Where are you from???

When I say ancestors, let’s be clear:
I mean slaves. I’m talkin’ Tennessee
cotton & Louisiana suga. I mean grave

dirt. I come from homes & marriages
named after the same type of weapon –
all it takes is a shotgun to know

I’m Black. I don’t got no secrets
a bullet ain’t told. Danger see me
& sit down somewhere.

I’m a direct descendant of last words
& first punches. I got stolen blood.
My complexion is America’s

darkest hour. You can trace my great
great great great great grandmother back
to a scream. I bet somewhere it’s a haint

with my eyes. My last name is a protest;
a brick through a window in a house
my bones built. One million

scabs from one scar.
Heavy is the hand that held
the whip. Black is the back that carried this

country & when this country’s palm gets
an itch, I become money. You give this country
an inch & it will take a freedom. You can’t talk slick

to this legacy of oiled scalps. You can’t spit
on my race & call it reign. I sound like my mama now,
who sound like her mama who sound like her mama who

sound like her mama, who sound like her
mama who sound like her mama who sound like her
mama who sound like her mama, who sound like a scream.

& that’s why I’m so loud, remember? You wanna know
where I’m from? Easy. Open a wound
& watch it heal.




Listen as Siaara Freeman readsThe Such Thing As the Ridiculous Question –.”

Added: Wednesday, September 7, 2022  /  Used with permission.
Siaara Freeman
Photo by S. J. Janah.

Siaara Freeman is from Cleveland Ohio, where she is the current Lake Erie Siren. She is a 2022 Catapult fellow with Cleveland Public Theater. In 2021 she filmed a commercial for the Cleveland Museum of Art & participated with #TeamYellowBrickRoad for the Black Joy Experience. She is a 2021 Premier Playwright fellow recipient with Cleveland Public Theater. She is a 2020 WateringHole Manuscript fellow, 2018 Poetry Foundation incubator fellow and a two time nominee for the Pushcart Prize. She has toured both nationally and internationally. Chances are she is by a lake, thinking of Toni Morrison & talking to ghosts. Her first full length manuscript Urbanshee is forthcoming December 2022, and available at Button Poetry.

Image Description of Photo of Siaara Freeman: Siaara Freeman is a Black woman with a large afro wearing large black wings and a long black robe. She stands barefoot in the afternoon light of the forest and stares at the camera as if answering to a never-ending dare.

Other poems by this author