I believe that white lady meant well, but she took liberties with my story. There was a pint, and I am a woman, but I never did bear thirteen young. There was an audience, and I did stand. At first, hesitant, but then, speaking God’s clear consonants in a voice that all might hear, not with apostrophes feeding on
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Chorus of the Mothers-Griot
for Phillis Wheatley (c.1753-1784)
[amnesiac wood] [nostrils of girls] [who was bought] [uncle’s hand] [guts on the air] [who was sold] [defeated man] [history’s charnel] [i say] [trader’s silver] [sailing knot to knot] [naked in the corner] [door of no return] [sing the mutiny] [in the slave house] [sniff bougainvillea] [who stands ashamed] [i say] [ready dawn’s kill] [naked in the corner] [jealous sharks] [i shall] [who did] [i say] [they did] [i’m here] [my name] [who shall] [i say] [yes here] [on the battlefield] [call woman] [call america] [call revolution] [call the brother] [call myth] [i say] [call the auction] [call africa] [call revolution] [in God’s name] [is this called] [is my mother] [is my kin] [i say] [is this called] [is some land] [is my mother] [and what] [is this called] after Lucille Clifton
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is the author of the poetry collections The Glory Gets (Wesleyan University Press, 2015); Red Clay Suite (Southern Illinois University Press, 2007); Outlandish Blues (Wesleyan University Press, 2003); and The Gospel of Barbecue (The Kent State University Press, 2000), which was selected by Lucille Clifton for the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize.