For Girls of the Revolution
You make me want to do stupid things.
Like run to the supermarket at 5 a.m.
for a new bag of flour,
because I can’t sleep until I fry you
johnny cake and plantain for breakfast,
just like your manman used to make:
like name my future children Assata and Shabazz,
and already start color-coordinating
their kente cloth headwraps
and black power afro picks:
like pack my bags for the trips I want to give you,
to the Dominican Republic to see the sandcastles
your father built as a child,
to Ghana to see the gate of no return,
where your ancestors raised their shackles,
to Ghana to see the fire lilies
that are still your inheritance.
You make me want to introduce you to my friends
even though we are not dating,
to say Look at this girl!
because Isn’t she lovely?
(I have already shown them pictures,
and the answer is yes.)
You make me want to sing black power anthems
from the top of the South Carolina Statehouse,
waving the pan-African flag
beneath and green and red sun:
to put you to bed with I, too, sing America,
and wake you up with Mwen se samba
Rasin-mwen pa gen tobout,
and write you love songs on the pages
of Malcolm’s autobiography.
This is one of those poems, yes,
this is one of those love songs,
and it’s from the darkness of your eyes
and the fullness of your lips that I draw inspiration.
Yes, we will write the anthem, baby.
We will write the anthem.