fireandmudDirt on my tongue 

Each time I swallow my protests 

It travels past my throat 

And down my esophagus 

Each time I walk into a room

And see stolen work caged and imprisoned

Dirt in my mouth 

As I listen to them speak 

About those that look just like me 

A pat on my shoulder 

Reiterating that I’m “not like the others”

Except I am. 

I was. 

I will be. 

Dirt travels past my throat 

Down my esophagus

Each time I hear words 

Caging in me and mine 

Mud in my stomach 

As I wake each morning 

And work each job 

Surrounded by lines 

That turn into cages 

That become dirt on my hands 

No longer will it touch my lips 

It will not see my tongue 

Nor travel down my esophagus 

To become mud inside my stomach

and weigh me down. 

Try and try as they might, 

I will not be buried alive. 

Written by Kiarran T.L Diaz, an Afro-Latinx writer and activist that advocates for intersectional womanism, LGBT+, and correcting the harm of non-diverse fiction.

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