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SISTER SALUTE: AN INVOCATION

 

“& then we saw the lightning, & that was the guns; & then we heard the thunder, & that was the big guns; & then we heard the rain falling, & that was the drops of blood falling; & when we came to get in the crops, it was the dead that we reaped.” – Harriet Tubman

Let the great whole of history roll out a red carpet,

A luscious long red one

Crimson as a pomegranate.

 

Let the great hole of history see black women

Warriors & healers, the triumphs & set backs

Oh recognize their long breadths

Of genius among us

Welcome their overdue historical nod with

Applause & admiration through the front door not

The back, break the wooden slats of military second class.

 

Let the grate hole backfill its lax memory

Beyond its 19th century stalks of corn, its clouds of

Cotton, its weapons of mass destruction

Its 21th century sand dunes & sand flies.

Wound the boll weevil until it stops eating the whole truth.

 

Let the great whole

Caress the heels of her marching feet, bless

The knots in her standing black calves

Mother sister daughter, scout, spy-runner

Servant spy, cook, musket-bearer

Code breaker, mail handler, messenger

Mechanic, troop entertainer, interrogator

X-ray technician, clerk-typist, flight nurse

Pilot, postmaster, band member

Intelligence analyst, color guard

Weathergirl, doctor, drill sergeant

Scud-buster, battle buddy

Prisoner of war

Unknown solider tomb-guard.

 

Salute our black women as they walk when they walk

The red carpet, the long pomegranate one stretched

From Beaufort to Fort Huachuca

Long Beach to Fort Lee

Pusan to Seoul

New Delhi to Ceylon

Long Binh to Saigon

Camp Buckner to Camp Pleso

Fort Des Moines to Kuwait City

Oklahoma to Mogadishu

From home to theater

Back back back home

Hopefully again.

 

Let the great whole of history tell her whole story whole.

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