Cloak / Dagger

(i dont know why the freakin formatting on this isnt working!!)

proof of my christianity

comes snapped in two weathered polaroids

draped in my new crisp robe

waist immersed in lake water waves

a black as sin before shot a washed as white as snow

after shock


a gold stamped certificate of baptism

calligraphy signed by the pastor

etched with Christ’s outstretched arms

calling “come unto me”

to all the little children of the world

red and yellow black and white

they are precious in his sight

and as long as I memorize my bible verses

recite on Sunday after services

I can claim both for my pass at the holy gates


shamefaced at my rushed memorization

a virgin mary with hot cheeks

and furious forehead wrinkles

I stare past the teachers sanctified grimace

beg god to let me remember so my squirming will stop

and simultaneously curse him

for having 2nd John write so many words down


I will never make it past the pearly door

unless I have my papers cause

hidden in the folds of my black girl memory

are consecrated christian children who refuse

to touch me during playtime devout in their service of god

they rebuke satan’s hold over my black skin

converge on me with whiteness, with righteous love


so St Peter at the entry to heaven

might catch fire burning out my eyes

may hear whispers of celestial vengeance unspoken

might note forgiveness nowhere in my heart


but I got proof

I got papers

and we all know the documentation counts

and the spook at the door*

just needs an in

to start wreckin shop.


* ”The Spook That Sat by the Door” is a 1973 film based on the book by Sam Greenlee about a Black CIA agent named Dan Freeman who after training in guerrilla warfare, clandestine operations and unarmed combat, uses what the CIA has taught him to train a street gang to utilize the tactics in an upcoming fictitious race war.


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