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I am a Black Woman

I am a black woman 
the music of my song 
some sweet arpeggio of tears 
is written in a minor key 
and I 
can be heard humming in the night 
Can be heard 
in the night

I saw my mate leap screaming to the sea 
and I/with these hands/cupped the lifebreath 
from my issue in the canebrake 
I lost Nat's swinging body in a rain of tears 
and heard my son scream all the way from Anzio 
for Peace he never knew....I 
learned Da Nang and Pork Chop Hill 
in anguish 
Now my nostrils know the gas 
and these trigger tire/d fingers 
seek the softness in my warrior's beard

I am a black woman 
tall as a cypress 
beyond all definition still 
defying place 
and time 
and circumstance 
on me and be 

Poem by Mari Evans
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