The Sound of Dead Leaves

when im riding my bike under the full moon i ask my great grandma, whom only i can see, why?

why you start this?

why you leave your babies when they was only babies?

"embarrassment," the wind whispers to me through dead autumn leaves. "the voices,

the blue eyed ghosts,

the light skinned long haired singing girls who never let me even hum their pretty little tunes.

the promise of hard labor.

the regret of being alive. 

i wanted freedom. 

i wanted to die but instead i chose to run. 

the south was no place for me. 

the south was for mamas and yes, i had 6 babies but i was never a mama. 

and i knew this so i ran. 

i never slept. 

i never slept alone. 

kept my bed filled. 

kept my distance from the truth. 

kept my lace-veiled hat cocked to side covering the tears that fell on Sunday mornings because i missed what i could have had 

and when it came to me... when my babies came to me, 

all grown and tall, 

i spat at them instead of saying sorry

but i promise, it won't me

it won't my heart. 

it was my ego. 



ain't know no words i could say that would explain to them that i left for me, not because of them.

i ran north to find my sanity. 

but was too illiterate to even define sanity. 

and i never told them sorry because i won't sorry, i was sick. 


that's when i understood.



because i know about the 

voices of faceless faces 

that hide in nightmares. 

voices convincing you that 

you will never be enough.

married for validation.

that's what women had to do.

knew love never. 

expect for her mama. 

but not her babies' daddies

and those babies followed her. 

bore fatherless girls, just like her. 

ran far from them babies to find themselves, just like her. 

never asked for forgiveness, just like her. 

their shadows followed hers.

like my mama 

who followed her mama 

not knowing 

she was following demons not dreams.

and then came me.

i am different.

still so much like them

but i am not them

because i read

and all these stories 

and essays taught me

to love and forgive 

because black families 

were broken on purpose. 

started before they came to this world

but will end with me 

because i am educated.

that's the only difference.