Health Care

Health Care by Akua Lezli Hope

and i suppose i should be grateful

to be cared for, to be looked at
in New York Hospital with my mother
at 12 and black and female

and was it all right to have
two different nipples:
one like a thimble

and one a dark rose
one that would stand tall
and one that would hide?

and it took the doctor and five other
uniformed white men
motioned over, to answer.

and i was 12 and naked and brown
alone on the white table
learning how not to ask.

About Akua Lezli Hope

Akua Lezli HopeAkua Lezli Hope is a creator who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, metal, and wire to create poems, patterns, stories, music, ornaments, wearables, jewelry, adornments and peace whenever possible. Her awards include two Artists Fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Ragdale U.S.-Africa Fellowship, a Hurston Wright fellowship, and a National Endowment for The Arts fellowship. She is a Cave Canem fellow. Her manuscript, Them Gone, a finalist in the 2015 Word Works Washington Prize competition, won Red Paint Hill’s Bryant-Lysembee Editor’s Prize and will be published in 2016. She has won the 2015 Science Fiction Poetry Association’s short poem award. Her first collection, EMBOUCHURE, Poems on Jazz and Other Musics, won a Writer’s Digest book award. She is included in The 100 Best African American Poems, DARK, MATTER, (the first!) anthology of African American Science Fiction and Erotique Noire, the first anthology of black erotica as well as many other anthologies and journals. A crochet designer, her interests are in freeform and the figurative. An avid hand papermaker, she loves to sing, play her sax, and play with her huge new kitten, Luno. A paraplegic, she has founded a paratransit nonprofit so that she and others may get around in her small town.


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