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By Sonia Sanchez

1


Picture a woman
riding thunder on
the legs of slavery    …    


2


Picture her kissing
our spines saying no to
the eyes of slavery    …    


3


Picture her rotating
the earth into a shape
of lives becoming    …    


4


Picture her leaning
into the eyes of our
birth clouds    …    


5


Picture this woman
saying no to the constant
yes of slavery    …    


6


Picture a woman
jumping rivers her
legs inhaling moons    …    


7


Picture her ripe
with seasons of
legs    …   running    …    


8


Picture her tasting
the secret corners
of woods    …   


9


Picture her saying:
You have within you the strength,
the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars,
to change the world
    …    


10


Imagine her words:
Every great dream begins
with a dreamer
    …    


11


Imagine her saying:
I freed a thousand slaves,
could have freed
a thousand more if they
only knew they were slaves
    …    


12


Imagine her humming:
How many days we got
fore we taste freedom 
   …    


13


Imagine a woman
asking: How many workers
for this freedom quilt
    …    


14


Picture her saying:
A live runaway could do
great harm by going back
but a dead runaway
could tell no secrets
    …    


15


Picture the daylight
bringing her to woods
full of birth moons    …    


16


Picture John Brown
shaking her hands three times saying:
General Tubman. General Tubman. General Tubman.


17


Picture her words:
There’s two things I got a
right to: death or liberty
    …    


18


Picture her saying no
to a play called Uncle Tom’s Cabin:
I am the real thing    …    


19


Picture a Black woman:
could not read or write
trailing freedom refrains    …    


20


Picture her face
turning southward walking
down a Southern road    …    


21


Picture this woman
freedom bound    …    tasting a
people’s preserved breath    …    


22


Picture this woman
of royalty    …    wearing a crown
of morning air    …    


23


Picture her walking,
running, reviving
a country’s breath    …    


24


Picture black voices
leaving behind
lost tongues   …


Source: Poetry (April 2018)

  • Activities
  • Relationships
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Sonia Sanchez
Active in the Black Arts Movement, Sonia Sanchez (1934—) often writes about the situation of urban African-Americans. Her politics changed over time; after the influence of Malcolm X, her integrationist views became more separatist—she even joined the Nation of Islam for a number of years. An advocate for African Americans, Sanchez has been a champion of Black Studies and created the department at San Francisco State University. See More By This Poet

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