These Hands

 

I remember holding her hand as we walked down the sidewalk 

me skipping cracks 'cause I loved my momma 

safe in the knowledge that nothing could hurt me when granny was there

 

I didn't see it then but looking back 

I recognize what the looks and the singing and the praying meant 

every time she sold pies to make ends meet 

or smiled just a touch too wide, 

laughed just a bit too hard...

wore the mask 

passed down through generations from ancestors

whose memories of the motherland were undiluted by Facebook memes and BET 

 

I'm not my grandmother - 

I didn't grow up learning to shut my eyes to the evil around me to keep the cross from my front yard 

I wasn't taught to grit my teeth to keep hooded neighbours from my front porch 

I never picked up the habit of letting someone redden my other cheek to keep the noose from my front door 

 

I'm not my grandmother -

but, for every cheek turned to keep the mask from slipping, 

for every bitten tongue and clenched jaw, 

for every eye-raised and hand-lifted prayer prayed, 

for every song sung with the echo of an entire peoples' pain... 

I'm not half the woman my grandmother was

but if you think 

for one second 

I'll let everything she put up with 

and struggled through 

and fought for be in vain 

if you think we can go back to the days 

when "Murica was Great Again"

well, 

you can catch these hands 

These Hands - Rebekah E Gamble
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A poet and children's fiction writer, Rebekah E Gamble graduated in Spring of 2017 with a degree in English, a literature certificate, and a minor in Arabic. After taking a year off to finish her children's novel, she plans to attend graduate school to continue studying languages and literature with an emphasis in the Medieval and Renaissance eras.

 
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