History

By Nancy Arroyo Ruffin

She is a living record
of what can’t be found in history books
for they can never capture
the layers of life
that she wears on her face like armor.

Each wrinkle a reminder of a past victory.
No nip and tuck to help erase
the bitter winters of loneliness.
No sweet lullaby to sing
for the aspirations she carried on her back.

Her eyes,
heavy from centuries of disappointment
have witnessed
birth,
death,
love,
hate.

Her lips, have only spoken the truth
even when she wasn’t understood.
Navigating through unfamiliar places,
with strange faces,
and labeled an alien.
A word used to describe
anything that is different.

Never fulfilling prophecies
of men destined to be kings, but instead
nurtured boys whose lives would end
before they began
like Emmett Till,
Ramarley Graham,
Sean Bell,
Trayvon Martin,
Mike Brown,
or the ones who never make the news
like Manual Diaz or Cesar Cruz.

Searching for justice
in a foreign land,
ambition is now placed
in the hands of future generations.

Little girl,
you are beauty,
you are love,
you are special.

Little boy,
you are strength,
you are honor,
you are greatness.

Reclaim what is rightfully yours.
For the footsteps of our ancestors
have long faded
and history has pushed its way
into the present.
We, are here now.
We, are history
that hasn’t been
written yet.