Black women be going through it don’t we?

And it’s been that way.

For who knows how long…

Is it even worth it to keep track anymore?

Must be a special kind of torture to sit and count the years.

Like playing he loves me, he loves me not with a thorny rose stabbing us in our palms the whole way through.

No matter how hard we love.

No matter how much we forgive.

We still get stepped on, beat down, and murdered.

Our names barely a whisper in the wind to be remembered by.

No matter how many degrees we get.

No matter how much money we make.

No matter how many meals we cook.

No matter how willingly we open our hearts…or our legs.

We give and we pour and we give. To the last drop.

Never enough to quench the thirst they say they’re dying of.

Where we instinctively turn hopeful for safety and love…

We sometimes find instead fists

Sometimes words — that cut as deeply as any knife

Sometimes knives.

Plunged in our bellies.

They slice us wide open.

Licking power off the blood stained steel

Stand over our limp bodies satisfied…

And their brothers look on…

Silent.

Don’t matter how much we’ve marched, screamed, and sacrificed for them.

Don’t matter how much of that same blood was spilled for them

Their sons

Brothers

Friends

Can’t confidently trust the only other people who know the plight of what it means to be Black in this cruel world

They’d rather keep a tight grip on the little power they do have. As men.

Still.

We find ourselves pursing our lips on an inhale.

Waiting for reciprocity that may never come.

It’s like flipping a suicidal coin.

Do you prefer your death quick or slow?

Maybe he’ll love me, maybe he’ll gut me like a floundering fish yanked from the Atlantic by a fisherman’s bare hands.

Us. The fish. Our ancestors.

None of us saw it coming.

One moment we are swimming along.

Joyful.

When suddenly we are snatched from our bliss and devoured.

What a dangerous game we choose to play.

Loving Black men.

Black women MUST love on each other.

We MUST.

It’s the only option.

And the love will run deep.

Straight to the essence of whatever makes us who we are.

Because in a way we are One.

Ubuntu.

I see my reflection in every Black woman

And every Black woman is a part of me.

When other Black women are murdered, part of me has been murdered too.

I don’t wish to know whatever language exists to capture the essence of this type of pain and sorrow I often find myself drowning in.

Kicking and screaming for help.

Gasping.

InhaleInhaleInhale.

Struggling to keep my head above water.

Fighting for my life.

Hers is gone…

That pain?

Although familiar.

Doesn’t hurt any less.

The salt of my tears sting my eyes with the same intensity each time.

How many times can we get hit by a freight train and survive the impact?

Can you understand now why we call ourselves magic?

Death has to play dirty to touch us.

To get close enough to smite us.

Has to disguise itself as our fathers.

Brothers.

Friends and neighbors.

And we are not always fools.

We see death so clearly in their eyes.

And we look them in their souls and love them anyway.

How incredible.

That we are even capable of such a pure love.

Unconditional, self-sacrificing, and overflowing.

Does the word magic even do us justice?

Sometimes I look in the mirror.

My mother’s eyes staring back at me.

And I am in awe.

Look at God.

How…ethereal.

With gorgeous locs that gravity bows to.

And skin the sun — hot and murderous — thinks enough of to caress gently, when it could so easily burn instead.

Like the lighter than a feather kiss a father places on the nose of a newborn infant he cradles in one hand.

We are precious.

And worthy.

And I love us.

So so much.

Forever.

Always.

Ashe.