Paintball pellets batter shoulders and thighs at 190 miles per hour I count the purplish bruises and smile at the post vision of us toasting laughing, being vibrantly alive The woman who pierced my nose Rushed outside afterwards for a cigarette Whether my nostril or her nerves were to blame We both survived an ordeal that day I don’t think of the sweat on her lip or the tears on my cheek when my jeweled Black nose disrupts canonical spaces Agony delineates child bearing from child rearing Pain is the anticipated toll: the impossible stretch of skin and orifice, wrenching of organs, the pinch and nip of nursing I received no pamphlets about the pangs of panic and impotence The deep marrow rupture when their ache explodes beyond your reach A formation of police fired rubber bullets at my child 200 feet per second in defense of hatred and spiteful ignorance She raged back in protest until her throat rasped, her heels blistered and she shattered into sobs once safe in our home, in my arms They gassed and maced my baby. She marched again the next day. And the next and the next and the next and the next Hope is a bruise, a nervous smoke and an unrelenting calvary
I have a poetic theme to my selections. I am a political human being in addition to being a poet. This is a powerful poem of female resistance through the decades, and love. This is a record of the United States. You can read history through poems sometimes; what people thought, went through, and how they kept going, kept showing up. Dasha Kelly Hamilton is the current poet laureate for the state of Wisconsin, but she is known nationally and internationally.