Brittany Crosby



I am learning the weight of my womb,
which one day will bear
black baby boys
born with coins in their mouths.
Their first steps will be into the Styx,
where the ferryman is hungry for their precious flesh.
Their first words will sound like a death wish.

Rivers, as they always have, will carve the way.
Some say the rivers follow the path of least resistance,
but I know the water, constantly flowing, has eroded mountains.

I will teach my sons of their power:
some will see their shade of skin
and want to test if it is bulletproof.
They will want to know
if they can beat unarmed bodies into a mold,
into a powder, until they are blue.
They will say that brown and black
are the same as the hues of the earth.
They will say,
Go back to where you came from.

My heart is ironclad, weighed down
by the metal that will bring so many of
my sons back to live among the stars.

My feet follow the ocean shore, the salt water,
the pools of tears left upon black mothers’ cheeks.
I dare not speak as they bend over the water.
They sing dirges for lullabies and goodbyes
as they lay their babies down to sleep
so deep, six feet deep.