Making Waves (Poem)
They speak of waves.
First wave, second wave
How they waved us into the voting booth
Onto rafts that carried us from the back alley-butchers into hospital doors
Parting the seas of picketers who would wash away our resolve with their photos of dismembered babies
They splash everything on the shelves in pink, so Susan G. Komen can swim home from the bank and tell us that pink bikinis will save us all
Because Sheryl Sandberg is telling us that the water won’t be so cold if we all lean in
And if we’re all swimming in marriage equality
And everyone has the right to buy a life vest
Then it’s your fault if you drown.
Those first and second waves
They rode in on tides that were red and yellow and black and brown
No matter how many flags they throw into the water
We know who built the boats
That the first and second waves splashed inside of
And claimed as their own
Then broke apart the pieces to build their homes.
We see the black and brown mommies and daddies and families
Whose babies’ bones settle on the ocean floor
Their tears crashing on shores littered with the bullets
That tore through the hearts of children buying candy
Begging not to be shot
Then publically executed by the media again in death
As “no angel”…
From the shores of Palestine to the deserts of US prisons
Where black and brown wombs are Damned and then dammed
So genocide just looks like the state’s role in family planning
Because criminals and terrorists shouldn’t wade in the gene pool.
To the detention centers
Where children wait with parched throats
That ache to be quenched with words of their families
And are instead poured full of poison
Because prison guards become sorry stand-ins for life guards
To work when your papers don’t.
Our swells will climb above the first and second waves
And churn the waters so our children’s and forepeople’s bones can rise
For people’s “right to choose” is more than contraception, abortion, marriage, and equal wages
But is about having the water for our communities to take root, grow, and flourish in soil
That isn’t poisoned by pollution from the freeways
Or washed away by the illusion that we can buy our freedom.
We are making waves
Beyond ovaries and hormones and clinics
And individual bodies
We can name our collective labor to love and survive
As the changing tides of reproductive justice.