Privilege Reproduces Itself

I began to babble / any words I could think of // in four different languages, / placing them in the most chaotic order / possible, in order // not to say these words: / The black side of my family / owned slaves.
      —from “Félicité” by Robin Coste Lewis

through the umbilical cord
                        passed
not a rope, not luck—

something hardier
shaped like a skull
studded with arrowhead teeth.


the alligator is known for its
death roll, a dance in which
it turns the world on its head
in order to break off the piece
it wants.


there is a video of an alligator eating its dead
compatriot this way, the bloated body
bobbing in its living cousin’s death grip;


there were slaves in our family,
some related and some not.
money gotten by blood
tends to stay in the blood,
which has no race;
and race is what is run,
equals teams divvied up
according to birthplace and
legal degree of freedom.
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