Barbara Doe

This is a “Weekly Spotlight” feature piece

When my Aunt Barbara passed, three deer jumped her fence and lay together in her yard for about an hour, until the medical examiner arrived to pronounce her death. I don’t know for sure what connection she has with deer but I don’t believe in coincidence. She is a woman whose entire life epitomized freedom. Freedom of self, of expression, of existence. The following poem came to me in the final hours of my aunt’s life. This is for you. 

The course of things is such that they end
Even the lives of explosive women
Even orchards whose petals have stretched as far east and west as they go
Must meet the end of the road—must close again

But you
You did more than meet the end of the road
You marched all the way there, chanting as you stomped
Leading with your body, your mouth, your hands
Sweat dripping from your hands
Your insides spilling from your mouth—
You continued,
At whatever cost,
To your freedom

I bet whatever spirit,
The one waiting for you
Engulfed in brilliant darkness
Will be taken aback
By your straightforward tongue

I bet you will demand the best field of grass the after life has to offer—
A spot indefinitely in the sun
Where the low hanging branches of the wide-leafed trees
Can reach and tickle your scalp
And they will bring to the flowers bloom endlessly, infinitely

Where the sounds of the wind bellow against the hills in songs of resistance
Where your sisters are waiting
Where I hope you will wait for me

In honor of Barbara Brooks Jackson

Artwork by Jess Buhman

© Ama Akoto (2018)

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