To the Once Enslaved of Morris Hall

I work for the ancestors. I have never worked for anybody else.

Alice Walker

To the Once Enslaved of Morris Hall:

Sweet blackberries and grass that smells of onions
Where rivers cross by, carrying messages
To the roots of the trees
Here since the land was fertile
And toiled. Here have set foot
‘Scendents of yours

By far through the valley of lands

Plowed down by men
Beneath hardened soil,
Lay your bones, brittle, ashen—
Brutally put forth
There the limbs breach the soil
And fire burns to embers upon a dark sky
They see, and sing songs to you, hope to match your cries

You, the Once Enslaved of Morris Hall
Have your way with this air
Welcome back your tribes and witch doctors
Conjure rain where blood stained
Break branches where before
The bent spines bowed
Toiling land once fertile

Hear their prayers
Accept the blood of sacrificed—
Beaks and talons of the winged mystics
Sent forth to bring you to Retribution
To sovereignty.
Drink their libations
Quench the salted thirsts of those drowning in the Atlantic
Akכm with them
Their calloused feet toiling
So that you may be alive through us
Free through us

© Ama Akoto (2018)

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