can you see
it is five am and the babysitter watches my children
i reset the metrobus route before dawn
and float to work
by two years time
my child walks to school and you cut her short
how do you say
no culture is lost through the length
of a proudly hailed name?
my seed grows in my belly
then fourteenth street
a child made up of carpet-burned legs
blue magic & okra
& over the years
my sickly thing blooms spectacular
amidst the smog & humid air & rot
i tell you
it is a miracle you did not kill us both
where are your monuments to us?
there is no perilous fight untethered to a greencard
in my passport, i soften my eyes for the camera’s flash
on your dollars, your saints look away
in this country
your language mangles community into something
so fraught and strained
two ms refusing to touch,
a distanced, eternal y
in my language, when children ask why we say
“because y has a long tail”
in yours, you ask why this response
i have not yet learned how to say
not all needs an answer.
let it go.
there is no freedom in isolation
no bravery in swallowed tears
my years here feel like germs in
an incubator sometimes
before i can catch my breath.
my pain breaks anthem form
the stanzas cannot contain themselves
ar no sabi di words dem sef
when my hand touches my heart
it is to heal pain the only way i know
when i kneel
it is on my mother’s old prayer mat
face to sun
hand to god
when i stand
it is because my back bends no other way
in a few years
you couldn’t tell me
or the statue of liberty apart.
Fullamusu Bangura is a poet originally from Washington, D.C. and currently residing in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has been published in Peach Mag, Apogee Journal, & Cosmonauts Avenue (forthcoming). Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter at @killamusu.