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When you have known only Blackness your whole life As I have When it has been written on your birth certificate Celebrated in your home Taught in your classrooms— That long history Marred by half a millennia of Turmoil and trauma

When it is inked into your skin Pressed into the faces of your kin Wrapped around their backs and arms and legs

When it has never known to hide itself Or shield its richness Or quiet its voice Or dim its steady flame,

White spaces become sites of rage

Constant frustration for your sisters and brothers Whose bodies color these filthy streets like balloons in an empty, endless sky For the ones displaced and dismembered

For your mothers and fathers Fading into the cement of their cells Dissolving into the sidewalks and streets Crumbling from within their own homes

For your grandmothers and grandfathers Who bled on these lands Fed it their songs and dances Then burrowed themselves Beneath dry, hard earth to be conjured By belting voices, big drums and heavy, thumping feet

In response to “Early Memory: The California Zephyr” in The Black Notebook by Toi Dericotte (25-27)

© Ama Akoto (2018)

#blackness #misogynoir #race

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