Poetry by Charles Joseph

You Look Like A Slave

If I told you that you look like a slave you’d think me offensive
but sadness droops down your face like the body has recognized
its youth will never return. Regret and dishonesty is a very heavy
feature to wear, so your face stretches farther from accountability

If your ears were not in his possession I’d tell you to run ‘til La Luna
de Dominicana caress your curves, make melodies with your laughter,
then build a nation with the force beating la tambora through your veins

But you don’t know better than being trapped
You’ve made a normality out of your captivity
Your bond to your owner is bondage in the end
Goddess of forests and islands in savage hands

When I first saw you, the splits in your hair told me this man don’t take care
of you. Honey, does he oil your scalp each night like your African Ancestors
did to worship their gods? Darling, does he kiss your flesh like the sun kiss the
Earth? Stopping only to move to another part begging for love. Sweetie, does he
know you need more love? In every crevasse of your smooth melanin skin? Bella,
does he make you moan so loud that the celestials hear and rejoice your purity?
Your natural form. Love. Mi’ja, does this man know how to love your black body
after taking all of your fruits? Una mujer elegante como tu. Una negra como tu.

Did you know a thriving line of your ancestry is annihilated each time you
bring this gringo with you? La Luz de mia, you’re a slave. Nobody knows
what hold he has on you. You refuse to know what curse this man is to you.

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