I grew up, well and bold,
In Trinidad,
A doctor’s princess in a
Crisp school uniform.

Circumstance changed that.
Mom got custody;
In a Mississippi classroom,
Racial epithets had a seat.

But I rose again to run in lily fields,
Enlightenment on my face;
I’ve marched with freedom fighters in the
Struggle for our race.
With Barack, Michelle, Kamala –
I’ve fist-bumped progress.

Yet I’ve lost time.

I chase memories of the men who loved me
As if to unwind a phantom watch.

Why do we find love,
Only to push it away?
Am I the one to blame?

Or are faulty predictions –
The ones we make to stay safe –
Responsible for love’s demise?

The haze of past years
Makes me doubt if
I have the questions right.

But I am a wise descendant of the
First women who walked this planet,
Traversing virgin land on
Tender feet for humanity.

If I am to find love,
I must will it.
If I am to make riches,
I must turn the calculator on.
If I am to move forward,
I will take only that which is dear –
The little girl inside me –
As so many African princesses have done.

About the artwork: Embayê Girls is by Miami artist Zipporah Michel. You can find her portfolio and buy her paintings at tzipora-art.com.

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