you come from greatness
you are the descendant of great kings
the descendant of great brutal kings
great big violent kings
who forced hundreds of slaves to make temples
still around to this day
you are from great big brutal kings
who tore out hearts
if they had to
who got big buildings made
that people who can afford it
if you have to
you can make people your slaves
and get your building up
you can tear out a heart
if you have to
you have kings in your blood
Used with permission. Photo by Gabriel García Román.
***Sheila Maldonado is the author of one-bedroom solo (Fly by Night Press/A Gathering of the Tribes, 2011), her debut poetry collection. She grew up in Coney Island across the street from the Atlantic. Her family hails from Honduras. Her poems have appeared in Rattapallax, Callaloo, Hyperallergic, Aster(ix) Journal, and Me No Habla with Acento: Contemporary Latino Poetry. She has been granted awards from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance as well as residencies at the Rockefeller estate in New York and Fundación Valparaíso in Spain. She also served as a Cultural Envoy to Honduras for the U.S. State Department. Maldonado teaches creative writing for The City University of New York and Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She holds degrees in English from Brown University and poetry from The City College of New York. She lives in uptown Manhattan above the Hudson.
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