NaPoWriMo 14/30 Henrietta Lacks grew in a culture

Henrietta Lacks grew in a culture
Tuskegee Tuskegee the Negro Insane
Henrietta Lacks grew in a culture
Tuskegee Tuskegee the Negro Insane

They momma’s cells by the billions and millions
grew the cure for 47 diseases and
counting the billions and millions of
patents and trademarks and Endowed Chairs
They momma’s cells’ offspring grew flew all round the
world they momma’s children grew locked
in closets and basements and battered and thin in a part of
East Baltimore too Black to be on the map

Poke a little prick a little steal a little
Oh! Poke a little prick a little steal and
sell a little, it ain’t profit its
scientific progress it ain’t profit
least not for you

Grow out of control, them Negro
woman’s cells, out of control contaminating
them Negro woman’s cells
anything they come near
cost us millions of dollars millions lost
cost us millions of dollars those
contaminating cells cost us
but then they made us
billions more

Henrietta Lacks grew in a culture
Tuskegee Tuskegee the Negro Insane
Henrietta Lacks grew in a culture
Tuskegee Tuskegee the Negro Insane

Science might need consent to sell a part of a person
but them Negro woman’s cells ain’t human at all
though after the war she became more than 3/5
of a human no Negro was person enough to be more
than research without messy morals

Henrietta Lacks grew in a culture
Tuskegee Tuskegee the Negro Insane
Henrietta Lacks grew in a culture
Tuskegee Tuskegee, the Hospital for
the Negro Insane where they drained Elsie’s
brain to get their picture crisp
and clear.

From here, Henrietta, from here
no picture is clear not the one with your hand
on your hip, not the notes on your death determined by what
the white drs wanted to see, nothing is clear from here
Henrietta

Poke a little prick a little steal a little
Oh! Poke a little prick a little steal and
sell a little, it ain’t profit its
scientific progress it ain’t profit
least not for you

Henrietta Lacks grew in a culture
Henrietta Lacks goes on growing
in a culture and it’s thick and it’s fetid
and tastes goddam awful and all
of us swallow it, swallow it whole.

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