By Katelyn Rivas

This city isn’t built on bullets

It swims with promise and is baptized
by its own blood with each Lake Michigan

wave. It has known your name. Knows you see
the 77 neighborhoods and of all its exiles as free with each snow

drop. Surely we will rise again. Surely you
will find us in bloom, violet and yellow. Braided
with the barbed-wire, with the homeless and with the unjust deaths
of black men.

When you return it won’t be like
coming back. It will be like turning around and
seeing it for the first time—
like that Sunday afternoon,
your dark eyes pools of wonder—glimmering with the bright hope
of a single star.

And the city, heavy as the drinking gourd,
will be steamy and tall as any answered prayer.
on its haunches,
for your jump-roping daughters,
who may never be children,
to spin it
into orbit. ■



Katelyn Rivas is a warrior poet, community organizer, teaching artist and freedom dreamer living in Detroit, Michigan. She is the founder and director of The Free Black Women’s Library-Detroit.Her poetry has appeared in Tayo Literary, The Mudroom Blog, The Offbeat, The LightKeeper, Primary School Blog, and Fight Evil with Poetry. 

Cover image by Misha Sokolnikov (creative commons).

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