Salt

I dreamt
I swallowed the ocean
Or it swallowed me
My throat a pillar of salt
I joined my ancestors
On peaks above the jungle
They left me to watch
And to remember
But salt burns the living
In a thousand tiny cuts
Like the lime juice
My grandmother
Washes over her hands
To slow the marks of age
The freckles passed down to me
Fading into brown skin
Till the sun calls
I will not forget
I shout

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No longer existing

Look again at who no longer exists

Were they occupied
Kidnapped and scattered
A people fragmented
Where they murdered?

Were they suppressed?
Their language silenced
Their culture stolen
Re-branded and sold on someone else’s market.

Who authored their fate
And who dictates the history
Subjects of persecution or objects
Where your erasure is only the last in a long line of slights

Death by a thousand paper cuts
On the backs of a great storm
The children of violence are not gone
Bear witness to those who are still here

Pearls

I would throw down my shield
and take up chains of words
some people wear
a crown of thorns
a medal of honor
or a scarlet letter
I pin on a tiny badge
and hope not to prick my fingers
as I play with the sharp edges
of safety pins

Yet some days I yield
to vanity or vulnerability
wearing a pearl necklace
little rows of flaws
cultivated in ribbed shells
presenting their emissions with pride
pried from their tight lips
like my story
painfully at first
then falling open
easily revealing
delicate interiors

Some nights I am the little mermaid
on borrowed legs
and burning knives
I dance
I sleep
I dream
I am free when the dawn comes
On the crest of a wave
Or the edge of a knife

Rust

There is more beauty

Than was dreamt of

In the conception of a perfect world

Decay and gravity

Reshape industry into art

The dull grays of steel

Blush into rust

Reflecting a setting sun

Reds and oranges grow

In their waning forms

The sun will rise

Onto a more delicate creation

Draped in memories

Filled with possibility

Growing over with new life

Colorless cobwebs

Natures silk

That line spaces

Neglected by human hands

Beauty fills quietly into lonely corners

And proudly, loudly

Goes where others do not dare

The dandelion breaks through concrete

Proclaiming its resilience

The little sun rises

Announcing new life