A Poem by Tjawangwa Dema

Cadastral: The Black Girl Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Where are you from?
No, I mean where are you really from?
Go back where you came from?
Is that your [insert child, insert hair, insert flag]?
Why does everything have to be about race [translation – you. Why are you you? Why are you here? Why.]

whatever refuses us
unburdens us
it cannot banish
cannot diminish
but itself

for days 
the women check, their pack, and bladder
take the measure of weather and climb
they make their choice of knots – 
surgeon’s, overhand or ____  -
they know that mad choir and its barbed-wire noise 
will not stop
know not to expect even the shabbiest miracle
their passing shadow darkens every door way 
and what darkens is always poorly lit, poorly read by what is dull
and dank in its small ditch
and so they march past the broken rosehip 
make a compass of its remembered childhood itch
they take the path down or up and out
and sometimes someone says some thing
tries to mar their day
from without
but black childhood is diaper and learning 
to pack for the day within
as though the rook-black good night meant to keep you

they know to say 
whatever chases me
through wood or up shaggy hill
apparition or man
I jog with one eye on the trees
and one on the path behind me
let whatever chases me chase me

~ Tjawangwa Dema

source : scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk