Sonia Sanchez

Do not speak to me of martyrdom,
of men who die to be remembered
on some parish day.
I don’t believe in dying
though, I too shall die.
And violets like castanets
will echo me.

Yet this man,
this dreamer,
thick lipped with words
will never speak again
and in each winter
when the cold air cracks
with frost I’ll breathe
his breath and mourn
my gunfilled nights.
He was the sun that tagged
the western sky and
melted tiger-scholars
while they searched for stripes.
He said, “fuck you, white
man. we have been
curled too long. nothing
is sacred, not your
white face nor any
land that separates
until some voices
squat with spasms.”

do not speak to me of living.
life is obscene with crowds
of white on black.
death is my pulse.
what might have been
is not for him/or me
but what could have been
floods the womb until i drown.

Collected Poems

Last updated May 16, 2023