Anthem Poem 257: For The Days I Feel Like Ieisha Evans

Anthem Poem 257: For The Days I Feel Like Ieisha Evans

by Fatima Tall

Today I am mountain
My body feels more land than human
I am stretching and I can touch everything
Including the sky
Cradling the reflection of ocean is important
When your body
Has been buried for years
When mud and sand have been grinding
Pulling you deeper
Trying to save you from what’s above.

It’s safe in the dark
You can look more angelic
But I have become friends with the sky
Because when first graders
Tell you your skin is nothing more than dirt
You must show them that dirt is allowed
To touch cloud and miles of atmosphere
That this dirt is still close to God
The universe
That they both enjoy your company.

Remember to be a mountain
When the boy you love tells you
He wishes you took up less space
That your rocks overpower him too often
He will say you spend too much time
Looking over him
Do not let him climb you
Or believe him when he says
He, God and the universe all can share your peaks
Make him find his own.

Don’t let him blame you for wanting
To look at something
More interesting or vibrant
You can see everything from your heights
Why not look
He’ll get angry and tell you
Boys don’t like mountains
That it takes too much time to
See feel listen
To all your surfaces and crevasses
That lakes are far more pretty than you.

Know that he only says this because
People have been telling him
He’s been a mountain for years
Yet the sky has never once spoken to him.

Remember to be a mountain
When the white boy standing behind you
In the dining hall whispers
“I should really hit her”
Just because today you felt like singing
A little louder than usual
Do not let them tell you
“You should have known better”
“That you were asking for it.”

Your black body knows better than anyone
That excuses can erase its existence
That the more cautious you are
Doesn’t mean the less black you become
Do not let them try to normalize the violence
That is nestled in his being
Do not let them remind you
That everyday black women hang
On trees like ornaments quiet and silent
Their black bodies punching bags
Their bruises telling their own story.

Show him you are mountain
That his words will never erode your rocky base
Remind him you are more grounded
Than his masculinity
Remember this Anthem
When you refuse to follow any other
Especially if it’s laced in hate
And the murder of your great-great grandfather
Do not rise for hate.

I know this trauma this pain
The media coverage of your brothers and sisters
Weighs you down
I know it’s hard to carry it all in folded arms
While trying to protect your heart beat
That it will feel impossible to stand tall
But you already tower above
You have already taught yourself how to lift from your knees.
This nation gives you back pain that last lifetimes.

You know how to rise.
You’ve been rising for years
From the very dirt that birthed you
Expect this time you’ve become a mountain
And they can finally hear you

 

 

Fatima Tall hails from the potato lands of Idaho. She enjoys writing poems about strong black women and how much she loves the mountains of the northwest.