Sojourner by Katerina Canyon
Truth is where I found you
In the cusp high over ultraviolet waves
Between your time as a slave and mine
Fighting off the results of bondage.
You were a woman who accepted no
Excuses for the lack of rights
For our mothers and daughters,
Demanded more for those who followed.
I am a woman who accepts that most
White men are fixed on one idea
As to how the world should be,
And it is on me to change their minds
Through words, or actions, but never
Through guns or swords, white bonnet
Wrapped on my head as I push
Away racial insults and profanity.
You never forgot to say who a woman
Could be, what a Black woman could do
When we eschewed weakness and misogyny.
No one helped you. You just carved the trail.
No one helps me either. That’s what I learned
It means to be a Black woman.
To be strong, to plough, to plant, to raise barns.
That’s what you did. I do that metaphorically.
Now, I raise children, plough through journals
With my pen. I always remember to never
Pin my tongue for fear of other’s thoughts
This is the way you walked.
I try to get my half measure full,
But I think it is a little less
Difficult for me as it was
For you. Thank you for the
Quarter you earned.
It took us a long way, but
Today, the world is still
Turned upside down
And we are working
Hand by hand to
Right side up
Sojourner is an excerpt from Katerina Canyon’s latest poetry collection, Surviving Home. ‘Surviving Home’ will be released in December 2021, published by Kelsay Books. Surviving Home is a reflection on African American heritage and up-bringing, racism, and abuse.
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