Friday, October 31, 2014

“Her name is Afrikka”

[This is Barbie Angell’s most recent poem, written for a young friend who was lost to the world far too soon; a video of Barbie reading the poem appears at the end of the post. To learn more about Afrikka, & if possible, help her family in their time of need, please visit the Her Name is Afrikka site at this link.] 

Her name is Afrikka

Her name is Afrikka…
And you don’t get to judge her.

Her name is Afrikka.
She was a target. She was a victim.
She’s not just a sound byte.
She’s more than a headline.

She was a diva…Her name is Afrikka.
You don’t get to decide her legacy.
You don’t get to admonish her past.

Her name is Afrikka.
She was the light in her mother’s smile.
She said her mother was her queen.

She was a poet. She was a singer.
Her name is Afrikka.
She was a beauty. She was adored.
She was silly. She was brave.

Her name is Afrikka…
And like the continent she was named for, she struggled.
She fought to find a better way.
For herself, for her future, for the child she would never have.

She died too young. He was a monster.
Her name is Afrikka.
And you won’t see his name here.
And you won’t hear me speak it.
He does not get that gift.
He does not get my words.

Her name is Afrikka.
She is not a punch line. She is not a body.
She is not just a faceless name. She is not just a trending topic.

Her name is Afrikka…
And when I met her so many years ago, her smile shook me.
And when we spoke I said something lame; “Your mother and I were very close.”

Her name is Afrikka.

And she had her mom’s uncertain grace. She lived in the home her mother and I shared and I knew she would have the turmoil and triumphs that ruled my days in that institution for children. And I knew that things were better for her than they were for us. And I hoped that she would find the peace that I found after I left. And I spoke to the people who cared for her, the same ones who cared for me so many years before. And I knew that they would encourage her spark. I knew they would fan that spark into a flame…into a fire…into an inferno of possibility.

Her name is Afrikka.
Her past tense was imperfect.
Her future; never written.
Her presence was too short.

Her name is Afrikka…
And, while her breath has ceased, her story will not.

Her name is Afrikka…
And she lives on in these words.
She lives on in the hearts of people who never met her.
Who never will.

Her name is Afrikka…

Barbie Angell
© 2014

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