a litany for survival

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For those of us who live at the shoreline standing upon the constant edges of decision crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:
For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.
And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent we are still afraid
So it is better to speak remembering
we were never meant to survive
– Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn

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