by YASMINE BOLDEN (United States)
Issue 2.3 December 2020
You have never known those shores or those people or those
words that sound like a memory your heart can retell
but your mind cannot.
It's illogical to think some piece of them is in you,
that your heart still whispers dark continent
though your eyes have only seen it on a map.
They say "go back" and you almost want to
even though you would be a stranger in your own land.
Could you speak to them in the cries of the stolen?
In the language of the lull of the ocean, the keeper of the paper-thin link between you?
Would they understand why your father cannot stand on a South Carolina shore
and feel anything except for an ache or an echo or a bellow or a burning
in his chest?
He does not know their anthems but he knows their songs
and somehow you do, too.
Somehow when you die, they will look at your heart and say
that it failed due to stressors, origins unknown.
But your father will nod, place his hand on your forehead
"she just couldn't wait to go home anymore.”
Yasmine Bolden, 18, a Black American author, has been recognized by the Scholastic Writing Awards and been commissioned by Writopia Lab's Black Lives Matter Festival. At heart, she’s still the voracious reader who talked her way into getting more than the five-book limit from her elementary school library.