For Mixed Trees With Black Roots

By Rae Stevens/Honeysweetcutie

On burning soil, we plant one Black seed and one White seed.

There are times

When indignation and denial

Tear at our branches,

Rage and supremacy

Claw out our roots.

There are times

When we have to say that,

Yes, this is my real hair

That,

No, it does not look better straight

That,

Yes, I'm mixed and my skin is light

That,

No, there's no such thing as 'acting Black'

That,

Yes, I bought this item

That,

No, I didn't steal it

That,

Yes, I do look Black

And our leaves curl brown at the edges.

There are times

When we must fight back,

Till the soil,

Replant ourselves into dirt

Dirt that don't even belong to them

Dirt that our ancestors laid 'neath a blazing sun and cracking whip

Dirt that belongs to those who dwelled here first.

We can feel 500 years of poison seeping into our trunks.

There are times

When we must remind ourselves

That God gave us power at birth,

When we must remind ourselves

To nurture that power,

Protect it,

And allow it to grow.

There are times

When we have to push our tendrils deep into the Earth

And demand that they listen to us

Demand they respect us

Demand they give us the right to dress and act and be who we are and

Demand water for our torn roots and

Water for our poisoned trunks and

Water for our dying leaves and

Water for our sun-baked souls.

There are barriers in society

That are put in place

Specifically to hold us back,

To bleach our roots and paint us

The color that causes the least discomfort.

Something as simple as our hairstyles

Can push us off of the branches

And onto the ground,

Into that scorched Earth our ancestors laid.

And yet

We must believe that

As long as we take care of that dirt,

That dirt on the ground,

We can plant our seeds and plant them deep,

And grow ourselves a forest that

We can climb all the way

Up

Up

Up

Where our scars will fade

And peace awaits,

Waiting to help our Blackness flourish

Into something beautiful and powerful.

Something that demands water.

We are never powerless.

We are simply gardening.


I wrote this in college last year. Got hardcore stares and discomfort for it.

I am not scared anymore.