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Til the Taste of Free in Our Mouths (Brown Baby Lullaby)

By Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes

Wake.                  Wake.

These the nights we sing. These the folds,

unborn reverie, ambition marbled mud & shine,

raging anthem born like diamonds out darkest ash & rain

This sky-fist for you, little ones, whose teeth have yet to bud, whose mouths

will sprout, whose tongues will flower sharpest word

This fist for you, our future, our want, our tomorrow-yes,

          Wake.                     Wake, baby, wake, child.

Wake your umber velvet eyelids and cry the sun with us,

these arms around you free

these streets we march, sore grave shaking ground

garnet flooded madness, we mourn

we rake the gravel for teeth so we may have something to bury

we sift the sand for remedy, we ghost-seers carrying our cinnamon dead

we stir the news, history, like an oracle shimmering violent

catching names in our throats before they vanish under starless storm & urge

we vex the spire, trouble the sway

          Wake baby, wake child, this lullaby will break the cage

You will taste the blood of your brothers in our milk, remembering

their glorious beauty as it warms your throat, you will

not know the cold of the concrete that swallowed them whole.

We are a swarm, a pride, a righteous and thick army

          Wake,           wake.

You will see G-d in the faces of your sisters, you will remember

how they fought five hundred years under an archive of scars, you will

hear their steps when you run, when you

march to the beat of the thundering lung

gasping for air, you will know this fight

to breathe beneath your darkest skin

& you will see & you will raze the reddest fields

gather the pulp of every fruit let it whisper your ear up

sculpt a dream, a name, a vow

Til, baby, til, child,

Til the Taste of Free in Our Mouths

Added: Friday, January 1, 2016  /  Used with permission.
heidi andrea restrepo rhodes

heidi andrea restrepo rhodes is a queer, Colombian/Latinx poet and scholar from California. Her first poetry collection, The Inheritance of Haunting (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019), was selected by Ada Limón for the 2018 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. The collection is a meditation on inter-generational and collective inheritances of historical memory and post-colonial trauma, the responses they elicit, the forms of refusal, life, and love, that emerge in their wake. Her poetry can also be found in journals such as the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Raspa, and Nat.Brut. A doctoral candidate in Political Theory at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), she currently lives in Brooklyn.

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