Black Girl from Mississippi
I am my father’s name and I come from dirt roads, rich soil, Chatawa wells, and firebombed back doors. I come from acts of resistance and freedom marches. I come from a people who didn’t migrate from Mississippi to Harlem or Chicago in the 1920’s. Out of the marshy waters of Dunbar Creek where I stood up in the belly of a whale until he spit me out in the Tallahatchie River. And a mother could no longer cradle her son. (Emmett Till, Money, Mississippi, 1955.)
I come from the “bomb capital of the world, 1964”. I come ruggedly, adorned in silk and in cotton, with scabs on my chocolate knees, caked with sand, bearing a poem in my soul.
I come humbly from tall porches in summer 1991, reaching into buckets of purple hull peas. I come from warm traditions like velvet cakes on Christmas and Grace before eating your meal. I come from lace, hats, and gloves on Easter. I come from lambent living rooms with tv popping on Thursdays and stereos playing vinyl after vinyl after Sam Cooke remastered on a Saturday night and Shirley Caesar on Sunday morning– heading to Antioch Missionary Baptist Church singing…
How I love
Calling your name.
I come from They gets drown.
And Dar he.
I come from evergreen hills in Eastern Cape, South Africa, where they bury treasures…
I come from crowns and tribes, castles and ships…
Because everything works in circles.