Words that Still Burn | CBE International

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Words that Still Burn

On September 14, 2011

Crack the book that 
Re-rewrites history 
And grow new eyes to 
Legal injustice

As a girl I watched 
Color decide 
The lines between human and not 
Hit me 
Like the whip he used on your back 
Your blood flowed and your screams 
Choked my sense 
Of humanity 
Like a millstone 
Around my neck 
Growing heavier 
With each black face 
Pushed to the dirt

They said you weren’t
Allowed to know 
What letters meant 
On a page

But when sleep 
Took every head and 
Their rules to bed 
In the flicker of candlelight 
Guarded I taught you 
Worlds to be discovered

Without warning your 
Breath left Your tiny body 
And became a flame inside me 
Burning until your 
People are equal 
To mine

As a woman they 
Said my actions were 
Unnatural when I 
Spoke up for 
Those forgotten

I do not fight 
For special treatment 
Of those deemed 
Less-than

But I ask for opportunity 
To be equal 
To look eye to eye 
And not be condemned 
Because I have 
A woman’s body

I know something of 
Your suffering 
When oppression becomes 
Comfortable 
And our names no 
Longer matter 
Stand with me 
Hear the words that I 
Pen to you 
In defense of 
Something better

With conviction piercing 
Our souls and a 
Message of love 
We ask you kindly 
Brothers 
To take your feet 
Off our shoulders 
And give us a 
Chance to breathe 
To occupy the space 
That God intended

The rules that ignored 
Injustice 
Broke when I refused 
To follow 
Every box you shut 
Me in 
I throw away 
Because the oppression 
I witnessed and 
Endured 
Haunts me until 
Justice is proclaimed 
Truth is realized 
And we’re all called 
Humanity again

Watch Sarah perform this poem on YouTube!

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