Carnegie Mellon University

“Rebirth of a Nation”

Second Place for High School Poetry 


Ashes to ashes, burnt black bones recycled
like old news, discarded in mass greedy
 
graves like victims of a modern plague,
symptoms diagnosed by the melanin clouding our blue faces.
 
Over the decades the names pile up,
pictures of mutilated pride metamorphose
 
into high definition. Too large for human
comprehension, man-made compensation,
 
my tongue holds no more capacity for bitter body rinds.
Bent on hand and knee, I regurgitate
bodies that’ve become bland—
useless,
 
and let my excreted sorrow bleed
into the drains of neglected streets.
 
I trace my swollen lips and savor
the acidic flavor of giving birth.
 
My jeweled sons, still spill onto the streets,
black bones bruised like sapphire,
 
holes in collapsed obsidian chests glistening like rubies.
No one stops to adore their riches, to reap their wealth.

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