The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2021

All Issues
APRIL 2021 Issue
Critics Page


dry hands, dry hands
sharecroppers feet
i remember me best feeling
the fleeting of a beat on bareness
whenever the sun rises, the song
always the same, bearing my name
hummed in a field similar to yours
a green grass, a yt fence, a home
a hymn, we all can sing it together
the unison of it all, could be church
we be wailing, we be working
we be our ancestors, waiting

for a break, either in the space continuum
or in the bone cartilage, a break
to give us time. my brother gave his spleen
we all giving something, for them
for survival we melt our bodies
or maybe we meld them, we be alchemists
we be welders, we be reborn freemen
we can see the seas in the way we bop
crop our pants, bowlegged stand-ins
standing in power, like a marvel movie
the one with the Black superhero
leaning how to survive, waiting

to get back to a mecca, to a motherland
what is a mother? a womb even?
all of us, being birthed on a block
watching an auction, waiting
for a turn to be free, a turn to fight
to flee and be born again
we are back on the boat again
backs of our knees touching each other
remembering who i was before
dry hands, sharecroppers feet
we are the memories of our ancestors
we be our ancestors, waiting


Joel L. Daniels

Joel L. Daniels, also known as Joel Leon, is a Bronx born and raised performer, author and storyteller who writes and tells stories for Black people.


The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2021

All Issues