Kin

By Maya Angelou

FOR BAILEYWe were entwined in red rings   
Of blood and loneliness before   
The first snows fell
Before muddy rivers seeded clouds   
Above a virgin forest, and   
Men ran naked, blue and black   
Skinned into the warm embraces   
Of Sheba, Eve and Lilith.
I was your sister.

You left me to force strangers   
Into brother molds, exacting   
Taxations they never
Owed or could ever pay.

You fought to die, thinking   
In destruction lies the seed   
Of birth. You may be right.

I will remember silent walks in   
Southern woods and long talks   
In low voices
Shielding meaning from the big ears   
Of overcurious adults.

You may be right.
Your slow return from
Regions of terror and bloody
Screams, races my heart.
I hear again the laughter
Of children and see fireflies
Bursting tiny explosions in
An Arkansas twilight.

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