​​Siaara Freeman

Urbanshee Predicts The Birth Of Toni Morrison & Writes Her A Letter

I see you sis & i smile a lonely summer until the sun skims

my skin like a softly wooded creek. Your light rippled

like anything heavy & meaningful will if given enough space 

& the space you made felt like God’s  gap. Black & lawless like 

dark roads winding through Ohio. I married myself once & no one 

was there Toni. No one gave me away. I did it alone in night-fulls, 

sorrow drunk & high off another day’s regret just waiting for the wind

to laugh lightning bugs from all directions swarming to form a person

size jar that you know i gladly stepped in. The bugs remembered that

i never once  forgot to leave holes for air & so they returned the favor                                                                                                                

the light licked me cleaner glimmering bones & a gown stitched in 

haint skin. I pulled the future over my body & let the snug turn to 

hymn. The hymn turned to feathers so there i was molting on a 

disappearing bridge when my hymen broke. Your name rushed from 

my lips as a flooding river. There wasn’t any blood I couldn’t find use 

for. I went to Eve’s bayou. I learned to spot snakes with flowers in 

their mouths. I made crowns of seaweed & learned the gossip of dead 

kingdoms & refused to die out without leaving something behind. 

I wanted children so bad; that once I grew woods silent for about a week. 

Bluebells fancied themselves friends of mine. Fungi leached bruised 

milk from each breast. My nipples swole like leftover hearts. I want to 

tell you i birthed something truly exquisite, A humminbird

with a jeweled song. Two scaleless dragons with smiles that leap

like well loved children. A sphinx so dark she had no choice but to 

become the riddle. A siren’s song offkey & kinder for it. Midwest 

afternoons on a muddy bank raining gritty memories. I named them 

all after you. 

​​Siaara Freeman is from Cleveland Ohio, where she is the current Lake Erie Siren & a teaching artist for Center For Arts Inspired Learning and The Westside Community Sisterhood Project in conjunction with the Anisfieldwolf Foundation. She is a 2022 Catapult fellow with Cleveland Public Theater. In 2021 she filmed a commercial for the Cleveland Museum of Art & participated with #teamyellowbrickroad for the Black Joy Experience. She is a 2021 Premier Playwright fellow recipient with Cleveland Public theater. She is a 2020 WateringHole Manuscript fellow, a 2018 winter tangerine chapbook fellow and a 2018 Poetry Foundation incubator fellow. Her work appears in, The Offing, BOAAT, Tinderbox, Josephine Quarterly and elsewhere. She has toured both nationally and internationally. She is the co-founder of Outsiders Queer Midwest Writers Retreat. A two time pushcart prize nominee, chances are she's by a lake, thinking about Toni Morrison and talking to ghosts. In her spare time she is growing her afro so tall God can use it for a microphone and speak through her. Her first full length manuscript, Urbanshee is available for pre-order with Button Poetry.