Poetry Archive


young women wanna soar like airplanes
take big mouthfuls of life chew with our mouths open
first open-mouthed kiss i had with a boy
over at the house thirteen no one home
got me grounded
for a month my single mother wouldn’t have me running fast coming home
pregnant girls get seriously grounded
too much extra baggage to soar

in my twenties
i visit planned parenthood
brief visit with vacuum specialist
whirr in my womb barely heard above
bloody christians with signs screaming outside
startled eye contact with a girl from college who works there
promises she can keep a secret

in my thirties
i see spoken word women n vocalists
poised for takeoff
unexpectedly knocked up but hopeful
well-meaning baby daddies grinning proud white teeth in brown faces
one year later baby daddies get new girlfriends
artist girls with babies get day jobs
all their VIP flights grounded

i turn forty still filled with
career girl aspirations
novel unfinished
body clock ticking
stable house
biodiesel car
grown-ass-woman life
got papers on the would-be baby daddy
legal n shit
motherfucker want a kid so bad even taking parenting classes
four decades forge me into shape of not mama
not gonna move over to make room for someone else’s small brown body stardom
i got a plane to catch

at forty-one the foundation shifts
fucking with an agenda feels foreign
dot on a stick
piss in a cup
pea in a pod
bun in an oven
step into a new dimension of female
strangers on the street hurl opinions at my belly
doctors label my body too dangerous to attempt mother nature without their scalpels/pills/gels/tools/machines
like I’m crazy/negligent/homicidal to have this baby in water /in my kitchen/in a black woman’s hands
but i’m grounded
walk with solid ground beneath swollen feet
carrying someone i’m finally ready to meet

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Aya de León directs the Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley, teaching poetry and spoken word. Kensington Books publishes her Justice Hustlers feminist heist novels, which have won first place International Latino Book Awards and Independent Publisher Awards. Her latest in the series is SIDE CHICK NATION the first novel published about Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In 2021 Kensington will publish her first spy novel, about FBI infiltration of an African American eco-racial justice organization. Aya's work has also appeared in Guernica, Writers Digest, Bitch Magazine, Ebony, VICE, The Root, Ploughshares, and on Def Poetry. Aya is at work on a black/Latina spy girl series for teens called GOING DARK. She is an alumna of Cave Canem and VONA. Visit her online at ayadeleon.com, on Tiwitter, Facebook or Instagram, where she writes about race, class, gender, culture and climate action.