— Luther Hughes
inside the womb, everything is black & animalistic. everything a fist thrusting me forward.
remove me, i remember thinking, take me now seattle.
but not too fast.
an incision is made along the abdominal wall. a cut across the uterus.
light leans into me like a thumbprint. i’m clenched at the rib. removed tenderly—
does the doctor know of my grandfather?
how osteoarthritis took. where the monster rives first.
i’m young & know death.
i’m young & already fiending for the body: how it conceals. how it grants human connection: call it hereditary: a veering hand: infection—
to be clear: i’m black. i’m a boy with diseased lineage;
the sapling of rotted trees. wilt. wilt—
i feathered inside the doctor’s palms. my flesh, paled copper, swallowed by the boneish hem of the room. i hear many questions: is he breathing? is he alive?
is this a black boy’s life?
i don’t know much about my body. what crevices. what merits entry inside.
i command the doctor with the howl of my mouth: how his fingers ferry this body. from his hands, my father is beastly. looms over; shadow oblong; darkness; i’ve been crying
& wanting another man’s touch
but i’m given to my mother; what of my body? it inherits. it fails to communicate. it spends its innards: oxygen for blood. blood for pleasure.
i’m not asking for answers. i want to be taught:
who touches me, seattle?
what fills this body once i leave these hospital walls?
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