i call your name three times
to let the ancestors know they should make room for you
you are coming home
you have become another picture
that will be added to our altars of grief
we will pray to you and ask what this life is for
black woman, you gave birth to this world
and is it not the African way to carry our children on our backs?
how do you not break with so much weight?
how much more of your blood will they ask for?
how much of your pain will they ignore?
your body has been both mother and mule
black men hold their stiffness from across the street
and call you bitch.
they have not yet forgiven themselves for being angry with their mothers
who could not make their fathers stay
you will love them anyway. you will fight for them anyway.
white men salivate at the way your body curves
they will call you exotic and ask where you are from
they want to know if black pussy is as sweet as brown sugar
the rolling stones told them so
they will not invite you home to meet their parents
they cannot bear that shame
white women will ask to touch your hair
they will call themselves feminists
fighting for the right to show their bodies
then will hire your mother to scrub their floors and raise their children
oh my sister
this life is not an easy one
this thing you created is not an easy one
no one weeps for you, they shed no tears
the earth returns unto itself a thousand times in one day
at night when you weep in heavy solitude
and in the morning when your flowers open themselves to another day