Do not pray into the ears of men
who will turn your prayers into protein
to feed the beasts that will turn you into prey.
Cower from anything that reaches for you
with only one hand, as their other hand is free
for thievery. Beware the white women
that believe that bombs are progressive
if a white woman drops them.
If a white woman says the word rescue
when referring to women of color, suspect
that she’s injecting supremacy in her veins, nodding off.
Shun the ones who pulpiteer on human rights
but never mention Gaza, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico.
Pour ink over history books written
by conquerers. Allow the enslaved to be your healing
masters. If a politician refers to a female body
as sacred because it bears male bodies
and has relationships with men, claw out
your womb until they can see you without it.
If your tongue is monitored like an immigrant
stalked by aerial drones when crossing the border,
if they keep shipping it back to the pain your voice
is attempting to liberate, if they don’t understand
that solidarity translates to compassion,
that radical is defined as sprained out of slumber,
that every empire is a soil irrigated with blood,
then take an ax to every gear you find, until
they stop churning bodies to the beat of time.
Anne Champion is the author of The Good Girl is Always a Ghost (Black Lawrence Press, 2018), Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013), and The Dark Length Home (Noctuary Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Prairie Schooner, Salamander, Crab Orchard Review, Epiphany Magazine, The Pinch, The Greensboro Review, New South, and elsewhere. She was an 2009 Academy of American Poet’s Prize recipient, a Barbara Deming Memorial grant recipient, a 2015 Best of the Net winner, and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She holds degrees in Behavioral Psychology and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and an MFA in Poetry from Emerson College. She currently teaches writing and literature at Wheelock College in Boston, MA.