Yoked Burden

Yoked Burden

How can I not want to fight?

people bled for me—

their lifesource seeping into the earth that I would walk upon centuries later 

I wonder if when they laid there—motionless 

faces contorted

enduring excruciating pain

Did they quiet the world around them, grasping the only shield available?

Did they flee their bodies, escaping into a paradise within the mind—soaring above the ravaging of their bodies?

Did they hold onto their next butterfly of a breath, with visions of bringing me into future existence?

This responsibility, 

this yoked burden—

of being Black,

is it interwoven into our DNA because we are still fighting for a future where our children are free?

Will this feeling release its steely grip upon our hearts and minds once we achieve a world that simply lets us be?

When will that be?

I want to believe it will be in my children’s lifetime

But this chain biting into my heart with each beat it creates,

something akin to guilt without the blame

—it never feels like it’s enough

It feels like we cannot rest

Overtired—running ourselves into the ground, 

to where we meet the ancestors buried beneath

our hands, sticky with the love poured out by our Champions

They nourished the earth for us

Turning seedlings to saplings

How can I not do the same? 

Are we conditioned to fight until we die?

Are we conditioned to fight until we die, because the life they manufactured around us was walking death?

But glory to God!

Our spirits refused to be snuffed out

They saw this

—so they blew harder,

testing the limits they could push our human bodies to 

And yet— the caged bird sang

the caged bird sings

The flame gifted by the Father can never be extinguished

ASL | 6.16.20

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