Age: 17, Grade: 12
School Name: High School Of American Studies-Lehman, Bronx, NY
Educator: Amara Thomas
Hips of Ancestral Song
One bone of slavery, one bone of bloodbath,
Bound like butterfly wings,
Their flap my ancestors’ song.
My hips are the crust of a drum beat,
cupped by worn hands against the leather,
Of a shackle,
of a ship,
of ancestors with hands not yet worn,
with hope shackled to a drum beat,
though they are shackled in a ship.
My hips are the graveyard,
that is all I have left to remember, but remember;
You were lost to me in my song,
of hips that sway to life.
My hips owe you,
sculptor of bloodbath and slavery,
I am your masterpiece,
I am a melody of your violence,
my bones are chipped and bound, but
I house a butterflyWhose flap is my ancestors’ song.