Master List

Originally Written - January 2017

Published - July 2017  Echo Literary Magazine

 

BaKongo
 
Even though the Master’s lash of hard leather made a map on the back of my ancestors
There is no way for me to find my homeland
 
Mandé
 
Whose breath do I breath?
Whose legacy do I carry?
 
Akan
 
I can never verify if the blood of kings flows through me
 
Igbo
 
A history I do not get to see
Because when they were shipped out to sea
 
Makua
 
Records kept in only number and build
 
Mbundu
 
Height and weight and usable skills.
Names washed away and kept from me.
 
Chamba
 
And here I sit. Process of elimination.
Evoking the names of tribes, with no semblance of my relation.
 
Wolof
 
Only in a Master list of ethnicities denied humanity
Can I seek the source of the breath inside of me.