​​Siaara Freeman

World in Which the Word Father Is Replaced by Hood

Let me start by saying yes, I grew up w/ my hood
in my life. My hood loved me the moment I screamed

an ambulance quiet. My hood showed up to all major events
in my life & also the ones so tiny I only turn to them when I need

something else to forget. My hood thought my mama was ice water
& my hood often felt hell bound. When my mama & my hood danced,

my hood felt livable. My hood’s a carnival of weed & wrong turns
& won’t change its story, only its writers. My hood remains

both dead & alive, depending on what kind of God you got. Folks
be so quick to ask girls like me if our hoods loved us, if we had

hoods to begin with even, I know they want me to say more
about the drugs n’ shit my hood was involved with; this

would make my hood easier to understand & dismiss. A hood
with nuance. They don’t think of nuance when they think of Black

hoods, but audacity does not surprise me. My hood was murdered early
one April morning, or it might’ve been yesterday, really it could be soon

I visit my hood a lot & I won’t lie, sometimes I cringe when I think of how
often that disenchanted path has had me stepping over my own


​​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.