Safe spaces in stanzas

Everything must belong somewhere.

Was there anything ever made

that belonged nowhere?


There is what we found

and there is

what we made of it…


There was rhythm

long before drums,

cacophony, unsound, too.


We tightened skins

over drums and beat out

sound already there

just because we needed

our hands to affirm

what our hearts already knew.


That in a demonstration

the freedom is demonstrated

in the hands holding hands.


That bodies

are containers keeping

safe space for each other.


And I have found safe spaces draped

over sunlit shoulders, waiting

for me to rest my head.


Others I found

in the hands that hugged mine,

keeping me from grasping misery.


How many revolutions were born from verse?

Perhaps if we cried in stanzas

people would listen harder.


We beat drums to affirm our rhythm,

speak to affirm our voices,

and hope this music will drown out non-belonging.


(This poem first appearedĀ on Sooo Many Stories.)


Which African language do you speak?

My story with Africa started with rejection. I still ask myself why her? She is not really my mother, sister, or friend. We have very little in common and only blood has tethered me to this woman who, I often imagine, disregards my being.

My mother tells me I was an easy birth and a quiet baby. I think, even then I did not want to be a bother and from then my story was a search for belonging. But you already know my story because it is that of so many Africans who migrated and lost themselves along the way. The difference is details.

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