I’m Raising Children

i’m raising CHILDREN
i’m not the farmer’s daughter
raising CHICKENS
to be slaughtered
not the sharecropper’s child
raising CANE to be
CUT DOWN
i’m raising CHILDREN here
RAISING
not california singing dried fruit
raisinettes
not raising STRANGE FRUIT
to hang from some oppressor’s tree
i’m raising PRECIOUS fruits
to grow HIGH on the vine
PRECIOUS FRUITS reaching toward
the sunshine
raising the fruits of my womb
to multiply by fives
to stay alive
i’m raising CHILDREN here
no little bo-peep
leading her sheep to be slaughtered
these are my daughters
these are my sons
i’m raising CHILDREN ya’ll
raising them UP
ABOVE the floodwaters
I AM the crossing guard
cross me and YOU’ll be sorry
’cause i’m raising CHILDREN here
between rock and hard space
betwixt slim and none
‘tween fatback ‘n’ no slack
i’m raising CHILDREN y’all
the instructions are included
DON’T FOLD SPINDLE OR MUTILATE
the instructions BEEN included
DO NOT FOLD SPINDLE OR MUTILATE
NEGLECT MISUSE OR ABUSE
just follow the instructions
like you do OGUN OSUN and the
MOON
just follow the instructions
cause i’m raising CHILDREN here
i’m raising CHILDREN y’all
i’m raising CHILDREN here

V. Kali Nurigan

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