I had these moments of startling revelation. Numinous connections wove together in the most intricate of patterns in my mind. I could see myself in these African people. In their bright, brown eyes and sable skin. In their struggles and in their suffering, even though my life was so much easier. But we shared a history, of this place of beauty and terror. Oh, lovies. I was very much at home in Africa. So much was familiar that it hurt to experience deep in my bones my seemingly endless separation.
There was this little girl. In a red dress. Honey chile, let me tell you, sistahs love a red dress the whole world over. She didn't have many clothes. Maybe this was her only dress, but she took good care of it. This little dumplin' treasured it.
When I saw her I laughed. "Black girls and red," I thought, grinning to myself. "It's a universal longing." I And then this girl child conjured a poem I hadn't thought of in years. Who Look At Me, by the amazing, late June Jordan. This line came to me:
I cannot remember nor imagine pretty
people treat me
like a doublejointed stick
WHO LOOK AT ME
the tempering sweetness
of a little girl who wears
her first pair of earrings
and a red dress
Jumbo said women have it worst of all in Swaziland. The country is built on their backs, and it's the go-gos, the grandmothers keeping these children together on a whispered prayer and not much else. Women and girls are treated like chattel in Swaziland, and they endure unimaginable violations of body, soul and spirit, daily. Can you imagine the brutal paradox of such comeliness? A princess in a red dress, and a doublejointed stick, this darling little girl both these things. lovies. And all I can think, with my heart breaking, is "Isn't she lovely?"
I cry to think of what her life is like. And I had to leave her there.
Oh, my Jesus, pardon and mercy, by the merits of Your holy wounds.
piccha by Ty Samson, my godbaby!