By Jade Lozada
Sunrise. Bring hope here Pink dawn, spilt across the sky, Lights the room of a baby girl, Rocked to bed by a lullaby. In her cradle, she should be safe, Mommy doesn’t tell her she’s seeded first in a dying race. Sunrise. Babygirl’s brink of discovering Mommy lied, Headline on the news: “This is the world we deny,” Blame to explain why Babygirl doesn’t beat the block so fast, Her lungs burnt black, Because her skin is to match. Reason why the block smolders hot in the Valley of July, Scorching sweat sitting in the spirals of her curls, Sending her to the AC so her dad can look at the bill when August breathes still and scrounge in his paycheck to give the family its fill. And that headline explains Why the Valley of July burned Babygirl’s buildings— Her pizza place, her ice-cream shop—for the cheap price of a five-year construction zone, So when Babygirl isn’t a baby anymore on her block she can’t afford a home. Now her sidewalk matches the ash billowing on her television screen, Who knew her West Coast dream was so close? Babygirl is a Cali girl, heat-of-July Valley girl, Helpless to help the girl across the world accustomed to the sun on her face and the Earth on her shoulders. That sun we trust to leave us tan will crack her skin first, Draw thirst from her lips—from her lips no call that will change a thing departs. Because she is a modern-day Atlas, no muscle, This never was a one-person job, Now we’re relying on a sixteen year old across the world to lead the mob. Now Babygirl sees this is the world we deny, And wonders who left Girl across the world to die. Who is the one letting her lips run dry, So she can’t call them out, nor they hear her cry? Who is letting Babygirl’s block blaze, Till it’s put out by the water line when it meets her gaze? Drag hand across eyes Who? Who says this is fate When the world we deny is run by a State. Elected to protect corporations suspect, Of raising us on their fossil fuel diet, So we can’t live day to day, year to year without them, Yet no one’s living generation to generation with them. Babygirl may have been bottle-fed on poison, but this thought is pure: Your life is worth more than a death stare across the Senate floor. So Babygirl beats the block to school, Bounds against the concrete, Stands before her class, Places her right hand over her heart, and says; “I pledge allegiance to the oil, That pinky-promised me a future. And to the Republic, for which I lost it, One victim, under Man, Irreplaceable, With responsibility for all, even you.”
Jade Lozada is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in New York, NY.