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my melanin,

and how my skin contains its multitudes

and how my melanin is my ancestors’ reminder to me:

I was willed into existence. I was willed into this country. I was sucking

the marrow out of what you thought empty. I was willed into survival.

You prayed for me to be struck down and I was willed into standing taller.

My shoulder blades like two firm blackbirds, wings elastic,

only knowing how to expand against horizons. Inshallah,

my offspring will contain this beautiful Black joy within me.

And let it be a song

and let it be the chirping of my heart against these frostbitten winds.

Poem: SAGIRAH SHAHID is a Black Muslim writer from Minneapolis.


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