P.W. Jefferson

February 16, 2011
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My tonsils have grown sore from the
soundless words
I have struggled to release
from my head, to my mouth, and from my lips into
their eyes, through their
The disc in my lower back is under pressure
It almost feels like it’s deteriorating every time
I decide to sit up straight
every time I am able to sit up
Crushed by the weight of my spine
The bones in my fingers creak when they move
My nails have grown yellow, brown,
and black
black like a negro
should be
black like a servant
black like me
My knees pop when I am told to
“Get that pie from the stove,”
my neck stiffens when I
am told to,
“Look in my eye, you no good nig-”
What was that?
I was born with a name,
“no, I say thas not my name,”
But it doesn’t matter because my skin is
who I am,
how I live,
where I live,
My name is beneath the history books
prizing the foundation of slavery
calling them heroes.
I am bound to the silence I was
forced to undertake.

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