for my people of the diaspora

for my people of the diaspora

i don’t know
if i can do this

i don’t know if i can pour out my pain
into a crystal glass and
present it as a gift
ignoring
the battered pitcher
that’s been in my family
for years

i don’t know
if i can learn to swim
to float among the bodies
in this ocean called
The Diaspora
you have my eyes
and i have your hair
but we are unable
to speak
because
our tongues
shriveled from misuse
have started
to die

i’m not sure
if you can hear me
when i knock on the glass
that separates us
and attempt to tell you
my name
you see me and blankly
turn away

i’m not sure if you care
i’m not sure who to blame

i might have been your sister
yet only i was ripped
from the womb
and given to hands
that shook
with glee
i don’t know
if you
remember
me

or

if you’ve ever wondered
about Little Girl Lost
about the tree
that was planted for me
that sways and whispers
my shameful secrets
when the wind blows
through its leaves

i don’t know
if you know
that
cotton and cane and cocoa
were nourished with my blood
and empires were built
on my back
that
even today
my body has been
stolen and sold
and my captors
won’t even let me pray

i’m not sure if you care
i’m not sure who to blame

i don’t know if you realize
that i can see
my mother
in your eyes
or
that i can see
my father’s stature
in your spine
the absence of elders
in this community
is only out-paced
by the young ones
who die
out-numbered and
out-gunned
in riots of the soul

i don’t know
the troubles you’ve seen
or when
you started to feel
that wariness that overcomes you
when there’s a stranger
in your land
because your precious stones
your precious rubber
your precious metals
are in danger
the things you were given
for beauty
Others
feel encouraged to steal

i don’t know
if we can heal
maybe the ocean
has split off into rivers
dumping us
mixed up
on muddy banks
far from home

i don’t know if i can do this
because you won’t look at me
i don’t know if i can care
because of my own
missing history
i’m not sure
if you know my name
which was lost when i left those shores
and the ties that bind us
are rapidly thinning threads
straining
to lift us up together
until they break
and
we fall

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