If I be the future,
where do I leave the past?
All that these old eyes have seen
and weathered ears have screamed;
A mind that has gathered its rage.
A heart that has harbored its hate;
The white man with a black belt
that never kept anything up,
serving only to keep me down.
Of words and hands, too harshly felt;
The shadows of feet--
from oak trees, still swinging.
The fear of sheets that silently shift
on soundless Mississippi nights;
How do I sleep on cotton
and not feel the sting of its sweat?
Will you now give me a silken box
to bury all along with me?
Will I suffocate
under its weight forever?
While you shovel light onto darkness,
looking for absolution--
in the blending.
Will you auction off my memories,
like tiny babies
so they can grow up without any;
How can I be the mother of the future,
when I am already a daughter
of the past?
And how will my sons come to forgive,
when their mother can never ever--
let them forget…