Celebrating Survival

At CUAV, we’re lucky to have inspiration raining on us everyday. Whether it’s from the resilience of our powerful members, the generosity of our thoughtful donors, or the energy of our determined allies, I can always find something to invigorate me in the work we do.

Recently, I found inspiration in a brilliant poem we read together as members and staff. Lucille Clifton’s “won’t you celebrate with me” is a celebratory story of survival. After reading it, we wrote our own poems reflecting on how our boundaries have helped us survive our struggles. Here’s the poem I wrote, with a title I borrowed from Lucille Clifton’s poem.

i had no model

no model for what it means to be me—
had to breathe into my own body
to awaken the clay that creates me,
and nobody told me where my borders begin.
so i found my boundaries.
i dug them up from the dirt
within the earth of my legs,
pulled them down
from the air inside my lungs,
plucked them from the flowers of my fingertips,
and this harvest
under the full moon
of my identity’s bloom
fed me with a map for making it.
making it in this world without land
for a girl so queer and so dark as i am,
where i had to clear the way for my own breath,
sweeping the ground with my voice,
like taking a rake to the soil,
until the seeds of my being
rested in their own beds,
so lovingly tended,
with all the space a queer, dark girl
would ever need to grow.