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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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