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By Sonia Sanchez

This is not a small voice
you hear     this is a large
voice coming out of these cities.
This is the voice of LaTanya.
Kadesha. Shaniqua. This
is the voice of Antoine.
Darryl. Shaquille.
Running over waters
navigating the hallways
of our schools spilling out
on the corners of our cities and
no epitaphs spill out of their river

This is not a small love
you hear       this is a large
love, a passion for kissing learning
on its face.
This is a love that crowns the feet
with hands
that nourishes, conceives, feels the
water sails
mends the children,
folds   them    inside   our    history
where they
toast more than the flesh
where they suck the bones of the
and spit out closed vowels.
This is a love colored with iron
and lace.
This is a love initialed Black

This is not a small voice
you hear.

Sonia Sanchez, "This Is Not a Small Voice" from Wounded in the House of a Friend. Copyright © 1995 by Sonia Sanchez.  Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, Boston, Massachusetts.

Source: Wounded in the House of a Friend (Beacon Press, 1995)

  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Sonia Sanchez
Active in the Black Arts Movement, Sonia Sanchez often writes about the situation of urban African-Americans. An advocate for African Americans, Sanchez has been a champion of Black Studies and created the department at San Francisco State University. The author of sixteen books, she has received the Robert Frost Medal and the Robert Creeley Award. See More By This Poet

More By This Poet

Haiku and Tanka for Harriet Tubman


Picture a woman
riding thunder on
the legs of slavery    ...    


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


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


Picture her leaning
into the eyes of our
birth clouds    ...    


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



By Sonia Sanchez

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