Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “lawal

Heart Kiss

if you gave me permission to kiss your heart,
not just the skin on your chest that protects it—
the pecs i’ve greeted with warm and greedy pecks
past the number if times deemed to be polite;
not just familiar and smooth brown skin,
but that deep and scary thing that lies within—
i’d first have to hide my embarrassing grin.

i’d tiptoe up to your beating red flesh nervously,
take note of your vulnerability
and marvel at the sight before me
and at how before this day, in blood,
i never saw beauty.
i’d check my breath and wipe my sweaty palms on my pants
before softly kissing it with parted lips and folded hands.

i would set up residence in all four of your chambers,
curl up and read the book of your soul,
highlight all the secrets you’re still afraid to tell me;
dog-ear the pages of your insecurities
French-kiss your pain and lick your wounds,
digest them to make them mine.

but they’re already mine.
you have unraveled the helixes of my DNA
and genetically altered and doubled us
into a four-strand cord impossible to break;
victimized my veins
and transformed them from kidnapped to kin;
taught me choreography to a rhythm once new
but now true.

the pulse of
our hearts.
our kiss.
our love.


i’ve got that
“newlywed happy love” weight;
“you’ve filled my heart and tummy
and now i can’t button my jeans” weight;
“i’ll take a slice of you
with extra whipped cream” weight.

your love is salty caramel sweet;
your words are hot sauce when i’m fried chicken
and your kiss is like a whole Maine lobster
with extra melted butter
and i’m hungry!
feed me!

always satisfy my appetite for your love.
even when i think i’m stuffed,
i haven’t had enough.
you have added pounds to my life
that i cherish
and carry with me proudly.

i am full
of you.

I Left It There With the Intention

i left a piece of my heart
in your pants pocket—
left it there with the intention
of it enduring the storms and heat
of washer and dryer cycles;
left it there with the intention
of it getting creased,
covered in the warmth of lint
and cooled by the metal of a misplaced dime.

forgotten too.

i left it there just in case
you start desperately digging one day
and your fingers find it,
pull it out of where it was hidden
and rediscover it
as if it were never there
and chuckle to yourself,
never realizing it was with you
all the while you were begging
for all of me.

this whole time,
you still had a piece.

My Grandparents Are Gone

my grandparents are gone.
never met them,
only laid eyes on an old distant picture or two
in a land i’ve never seen or smelled;
heard old happy voices
that hinted at the desire to hold me
via brief long distant calls;
witnessed tears form in my parents’ eyes upon memory.

i wish my grandparents could
tell me stories of their childhood
and teach me the language i never learned
but they are gone.

but if they were here,
i would ask my paternal grandmother
why her skin was dark like mine,
but her eyes were blue
and how she lived to be 102;

i would ask my maternal grandfather
how his faith in God got to be so strong
and why he loved nothing more
than reading the Book of Psalms;

i would ask my paternal grandfather
why he was so tough on my father
which in turn made him so tough on his sons
and why when kids saw him, they’d get up and run;

and i would ask my maternal grandmother
how she looked when she smiled
because i only saw her casket photos at her funeral
one year before i arrived.

all my grandparents have died—
gone to the next place after we leave earth.
i wonder in my death, will it be like a new birth
where all my grandparents will cradle me in their arms
and say the words they never had a chance to say
as we speak the same language
and finally get the opportunity
to love and know
one another.

Could You Spare Some Change?

could you spare some change?
it’s been a while since i’ve been fed,
but i’m still alive and kicking…
at least in my head.

“could you spare some change?”
i whisper quietly as you pass my way,
hoping you’ll notice that
i haven’t been fed today.

could you spare some change?
i know you got other obligations,
but i want to catch you
before my train leaves this station.

could you spare some change?
it might help you to see
that i am not who i appear to be.
i am not a homeless woman standing in the street;
i am the dream that gnaws at you when you can’t fall asleep;
i am the voice in your head that says,
“This job is not for me.”
i am your purpose,
what God intended for you to be;
but it’ll be hard for us to meet
if you can’t afford me.

so i ask again,
could you spare some change?

Crabs in a Barrel

lack of love for one another
makes dark skin

wins become
wins dig up
words cut skin and wait for

dark skin cutters have words for
they feel pleasure in
as they watch what makes us all the same
seep out
and scab over
and scar.

and only then do they applaud.