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Character Work: Family (for Uganda)

after Langston Hughes

i. The Child

My mother(land) wants
to abort me
after I have
learned to walk.
Sing me a sad song,
I am destiny’s dead child.
Say my name
& they sharpen a blade.
Say it again & I am gone.

My mother(land) says
I am not her child.
She has turned
her umbilical cord
into the reddest noose,
chokes her blood
with her blood.

My mother(land)
despises my breath,
wants to fill me
with a lead love.
She says if I kiss
the boy, the eyes
like old water,
she will place me
in a crib
of stone.

My mother(land)
decided not to be
a mother.
She has given
me her blood
& wants it back.

ii. The Mother(land)

little sweet sweet child of mine

my body holds you & a virus,

the white (anti) bodies flood

my blood yelling Christ! Sin! Kill! Christ!

& my blood, your blood, listens & roams

searching my veins for secrets, for a love

that book, with its white-white pages & gold

letters, calls abomination calls for prison

calls for blood             my child—there is so much

blood everywhere, I can’t stop bleeding

your name, but the old Gods won’t come.

They have convinced your brothers & sisters

that heaven is not my flesh, my skin bursting

with good fruit & gentle suns                        my sweet

sweet child      these white (anti) bodies invade

my body, whisper Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. & my body

hungry for salvation, obeys.




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