How the young attempt and are broken

Differs from age to age

We were brown free girls

Love singing beneath their skin

Sun in their hair in their eyes

Sun their fortune

The taste of their young boys’ manhood

Swelling like birds in their mouths.


In a careless season of power

We wept out our terrible promise

Now these are the children we try

For temptations that wear our face

And who came back from the latched cities of falsehood

Warning—the road to Nowhere is slippery with our blood

Warning—You need not drink the river to get home

For we purchased bridges with our mothers’ bloody gold

We are more than kin who come to share

Not blood, but the bloodiness of failure.


How the young are tempted and betrayed

To slaughter or conformity

Is a turn of the mirror

Time’s question only