The Next Chapter

Read Give Back Our Children, a poem by Canisia Lubrin

This poem is from her debut poetry collection, Voodoo Hypothesis.
Born in St. Lucia, poet Canisia Lubrin now makes her home in Whitby, Ont. (Anna Keenan)

In Canisia Lubrin's debut poetry collection Voodoo Hypothesis, she delves into topics of colonialism, race and oppression through a folkloric lens. One of the featured poems, Give Back Our Children, explores Black identity and the idea of trauma as being inherited.

Give Back Our Children

with mouthfuls of ocean
give back our looted brains                                                       
our boys with shackles
at the scrotum, that manhood
famed for, sentient for DNA, 
unaided. Earthquake models
of pissing whips. We need
no deep-cut postures
to support the weight
of plotted shadows, drifting                           
the wild quadrupeds
in our girls' starlit tears       
still, fractured, refusing
to water our own 
pillaged times                                                               
Voodoo Hypothesis, a poetry collection by Canisia Lubrin.

Our children are born
with mouthfuls of cotton
hands full of plantation
dirt. We need no deep
conversations about them,
dead, still hanging
like dried cassava, aplomb
free inside our quarky throats
while we're still walking
long, long miles charged
and singing, or morphed,
in immigrant schemata.
To be heard is, to exist is,
to exit virtual newsworthiness.
The voice, second
class turning heavy
at some remount of numbered
warrantees. Give back

our children, still
born indigo

with mouthfuls
with mouthfuls of blood
with mouthfuls of arc
with mouthfuls of dreams
with mouths full of cotton
with mouths full
with mouths
thank all the deities
for their
root-thick hearts
for the cosmic bulk
of their lips

From Voodoo Hypothesis by Canisia Lubrin ©2017. Published by Wolsak & Wynn.