Saturday, November 12, 2005

She Sat

© 12 November 2005, The Griot Poet

She sat.
After a day of working for another, she sat with swollen, tired feet and beaten spirit.
You see, her mediocrity was reinforced by de facto writ: signs that said “whites only” for the best services rendered; “coloreds only” for entrances, seats and water fit for dogs.

She sat.
And the writ said she should not hog her seat, but give it up and go to her place at the back of the bus. But…

There was something about that day.
There was something about the way the bus driver said:
“Move back, heifer!
“Get a moving, gal!
“Get on back there… where your kind belongs!

She was a 42-year-old mature, married black woman:

Not a heifer.
And, no one's gal.

She’d worked in the budding Civil Rights movement, planned marches, sang songs of faith like “we shall overcome, someday,” truly the “substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not [yet] seen.”

In her belief
That her faith would bring material reality to her expectations;
In her belief
That she would soon see the evidence of the labor everyone said – black and white – would bear no fruit.
In her belief
That she would live to see a country without the demeaning signs on entrances, seats and drinking fountains,
That she would live to see her people vote every November without the need of voting tests or poll taxes,
That she would live to see lynching become less frequent, southern trees bearing “strange fruit, blood on the leaves, blood on the root” and white sheets minimized (though now they where Armani three-piece)

She straightened her back, giving backbone to a movement that had otherwise stalled.
She nodded her head “no!”
She sat.

For our American hero, Rosa Parks: "My feet may be tired, but my soul is at rest."
Rest in peace, Rosa. We love you.

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