I’m from Motor City Burning.
From Jags shrimp, cousins down the
street and the River Rouge Plant.
I’m from moving every few years.
From parsonages, two family
flats, faded wine carpet and
summers in Idlewild.
I am from grape vines in
grandmother’s backyard and
collard greens in Poppy’s.
I’m from the “Cleage Look”
and Mommy’s firm closed lips. From
“Do you want to scrub floors for the
rest of your life?” and “What
were you thinking?”
I come from church starting
Congregationalists and Presbyterians. From
Black Christian Nationalists and Catholics.
I am from Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
From smothered chicken, baking powder biscuits,
caramel iced cakes and sweet potato pie.
I’m from Eliza’s freedom and Dock’s
escape. From “I know nothing about you
people.” And digging yams in the rain.
I am from slaves, seamstresses, carpenters,
doctors, teachers, auto workers and dreamers.
From Annie, Matilda, Celia and Clara.
I’m from talking and analyzing around
the dinner table. From meetings
and protests. From newsletters and
demonstrations. From freedom now.
I come from the creamy crumbling pages of
my father’s photo album. From my
grandparents faded love letters. I come
from those who survived.