My Mother Myself
When you look in the mirror,
What do you see?
A Black woman, big and bad,
Too strong, too loud, too much?
Hair too nappy, nose too broad,
Or do you see the eyes
That have held back a million tears
For dreams deferred, defiled or denied
Left to die and rot away
In some dusty storeroom behind those eyes?
Do your full lips speak of Africa?
Of your far away but still remembered home
Where your dark skin glistened in the sum?
Do they form words in a foreign tongue
As you tell your story
Or argue again
For your voice to be heard?
And yet again, yet again,
Does your tongue make the same arguments
As it longs to be free to sing?
Do you see broad hips
That carried your children
Round buttocks and thighs, smooth continents
That promise pleasure and deliver more?
Do you know that your chocolate-coloured nipples
Provide nourishment and sweet delight?
And your waist encloses a spine
That has carried you straight and sure
Through all of life’s trials –
Do you see? Do you see?
Your feet that marched and trod
And carried you
And sometimes danced?
Your shoulders are tired now, they need to rest.
Will you wrap them with rainbow colours of joy and laughter
Or soft, pale green of peace and calm?
And as you put yourself away for the night,
Will you dream of your beauty?
Copyright © Zhana 2003
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED