"Rememory" by Roya Marsh

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July 15, 2021 

Rememory


Roya Marsh

       is the sound of me thinking
in a language stolen from my
ancestors. I can’t tell you who the
first slave in my family was, but we
are the last. Descendants
of the sun. Rye skinned
and vibrant, wailing to
a sailing tomb. We twist
creoled tongues. Make English
a song worth singing. You erase
our history and call it freedom.
Take our flesh and call it fashion.
Swallow nations and call it
humanity. We so savage
we let you live. 
       I can’t tell you who the first slave
in my family was, but we remember
the bodies.   Our bodies remember.
We are their favorite melody. Beat
into bucket. Broken
into cardboard covered
concrete. Shaken
into Harlem. The getting over
never begins, but there
is always the get down. Our DNA
sheet music humming
at the bottom
of the ocean.

Copyright © 2021 by Roya Marsh. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 15, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“This poem is written to my ancestors who continue to sustain me. To hip hop. To those whom knowledge was made inaccessible yet survived knowing they can’t steal us from ourselves.”
—Roya Marsh

Roya Marsh, poet, performer, educator and activist, is the author of dayliGht (MCD × FSG Originals, 2020), finalist for the 2021 Lambda Award for Lesbian Poetry. A Bronx native, she is the co-founder of the Bronx Poet Laureate position and the awardee of the 2021 Lotus Foundation Prize for Poetry.

dayliGht
(MCD x FSG Originals, 2020)

“American Sonnet (10)” by Wanda Coleman
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“The History of Silence” by Emmy Pérez
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Thanks to R. Erica Doyle, author of proxy (Belladonna Books, 2013), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Watch a Q&A about Doyle’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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