This blonde girl eyes green as St. Patrick’s day,
had the nerve to sit across from me and the only other Black girl
in “The History of Reproduction and Contraception” in America.
and asks body language spilling her disgust-
Why didn’t slaves just abstain from sex instead of birthing children into slavery?
and I’m just sitting there praying, like Sweeeeeeeeet Black Baby Jesus.
You gotta help me be a good Christian today.
That’s how we came to the talk of cotton root bark.
How a girl-slave would snatch some from the field,
gnash it between her teeth. Her attempt
to not have a child
by a master’s command to breed or midnight hunger
I wanna tell this green-eyed girl
I can’t even abstain from sex if I wanted to.
These men don’t care nothing
about no abstinence. They been in the business of take.
ain’t not one man thought about abstaining since
my hips spread since my chest came to full bloom, but now
I’m the angry Black girl in class ready to raise hell
and kingdom come and send her to her maker
‘cause she got violent with her words
now I’m supposed to sit there all silent.
while she curse those wombs that ain’t ask for it
and even if they did, had the right to hold some
and then she gon’ question our maternal instincts.
The maternal instinct would have been to not want your kids to go through that!
and I realize oh. She just don’t know
she just ain’t never had nothing taken from her.
I’m sitting in this class / with my black body / full of holes / an empty womb / I’m in this class/ and my body is so much history / so much the woman from the field in the hut/ and so much the man too / that I’m damn near crying at this point wondering / what do we got to abstain from? / I know / she ain’t never had nothing taken from her / but here I am / with my momma’s blood / trying to give to her / kindly / cast her bones / while mine break / salve her skin / while the graves between us / peel mine back / force my legs apart / staple my mouth shut-
My professor changes the subject without comment.
the blonde girl eyes just as green as St. Patrick’s day
still looking at me and the only other Black girl in this class
Like she know she ain’t got nothing