Drapetomania: A mental illness which causes slaves to attempt escape.
For as long as I can remember,
my father has had more than one phone.
On days when we remember that we are looking for him, my mother
rattles off the numbers we think may still be in use
I heard once that two phones are a sign that you are running away.
No, This is not about seeking love in blue bedsheets;
not to the man who once asked me why I love like it will get me free
giggled me wade in these sheets –
no, this is why are black men ghost town and hero?
It is April and I have not spoken to my father in months
I imagine him aging slow, sick, sequestered like old drapes in smoky rooms
Paranoid that we will one day grow bored of the tired landscapes his fists could paint
Which is to say, remember, father your melanin is no special thing.
No, not to the woman who wondered if I would find him in the gutting of her; no.
Today is not about pain and the graveyards in which we seek salvation
Not to ask where he was when they were making a blackhole of me
Not to ask how I can be empty and yet so full of grief
And if I could, would it matter?
no, this is how do black fathers mistake home for shackle; and wade?
Have they not fed you well from the glut of these girls
Enough to fill that girl shaped hole in your home?
Isn’t it easier to throw all of that trauma into the grave with her
And where is the room for all your guilt?
All those goodbyes they have gutting your tongues
Make a loose chain of this home
That is to say, was it so easy to lose us?
How could you hear father if you could never stand on the alter?
That is to say, I know this world can make memories of black fathers,
them black men ain’t been disappearing themselves
Always been that pipeline
Always been some poison
Always been some passlaw
Always been some pig’s gun
Black men have always been sacrifice to their paperface gods
Stay hunting niggers down and want to ask us why our fathers are always running
Steady your noose and ask me why black men are ripping our families apart
I know now why he keeps falling in love with the only chains he can take off;
That is to say, they have made plantation of black family
Freedom has always been a sickness in black bodies,
Always been some kind of psychosis
Always been seeing some shit that just ain’t there
Always been catching those white hoods in his periphery.
Always been an itch in his feet that he just can’t scratch.
who will teach me to love myself when my father is a village in ruins?