so. you set down all that weight,
gave up all that shit?
cleared the ghosts’ hands away from your heels?
straightened the wide brims of their hats?
kissed the men on soft smirked cheeks?
danced beyond the reach of your children?
you knew how to end the long tale
you knew how to meander without waste
you kept our attention on their faces
you heard the black women
folded, almost disappeared between the pages,
but you told their stories
and made them our stories
we all learned to love our eyes
we all remembered that we are not wrong
we all looked at whiteness with a withering eye
we all knew the cost of enslavement
we all needed you
we are all grateful