TO THE PEOPLE IN HELL WHO WANT ICE WATER
Listen up, I’m here standing where earth goiters
into spongy dark. I’ve gotta cup and its frosty.
I’ve gotta cup cuz I learned wanting is a lance
at the neck. But my momma wears rubies. Once,
momma longed to zip our blood-chapped lips forever.
Had to stop herself from snatching our asses up,
sis and I—ungrateful, dusty, sun-buttered—blustering
through her front door begging for popsicles.
None of that 50-cent twin pop shit. We wanted ice
rough-buffed into powerpuffs with bubble gum eyes.
We whined, and brass notes clattered our throats
then momma reminded us of you. All of you
blaring with an ambulance’s urgency. Your voices
proof over maroon fire. Your voices like poverty
divided us from ten-speed bikes, water parks, white
friends & white kicks. People in hell sulfur
and smoke while momma chokes dreams
from breathing. Her own hope stacks like tender
in a box beneath the bed. We still burning.
America sweats beneath her torch. I don’t need you
to remind me my heirloom is 400 years
of yearning. Rubies bruise my momma’s neck.
I’m finna throw the cup down. Open your mouth.
Trade me. A sip for a dream safe enough to hold.