40 Acres and a Mule

by berf

What is black?

One could say that black

Is the presence of all

Color, absorbing light.

On paper, black is the ink,

Seeping and staining

To form figures.

Then, black is the raven,

It is the kettle, and the pupil.

And black is also

Night, inky and blinding one

To things

Easily seen in the day.

But what is Black?

Black is a title,

Spoken with hateful

Eyes and a sneer.

In life, Black

Is a promise to "less than,"

Never "equal to."

Black is negro;

It is lynching,

It is starving, service,

And pain.

Yes, Black is a

Sentence to misery.


What is secession?

What is war?

What is Reconstruction?

Maybe Black is not

Always a title.

Or maybe not

A verdict.

Now one thinks that

Black can be a vote;

Black can be a citizen;

Black can be the Freedman.

Black is now

The Union League,

And it is

40 acres and a mule.

One might even

Dare to hope

That someday, Black

Will just be black.

For anyone who is confused about the phrases freedman, Union League or 40 acres and a mule, they all have to do with the aftermath of the Civil war which provided more rights for black people. That might make this free verse more clear.