She. Her. Me.

I rarely ever saw my mother cry.

She cried when my father passed

She cried when my brother made her upset

Disrespectful behavior makes her uneasy

Maybe because disrespect comes to her with ease.

As a Black woman, she’s always fighting.

Fighting for fairness;

fighting for space;

fighting for rest;

fighting for self;

she just wants to be herself.

She doesn’t want to be caged in so she sings of what she told the storm and with that comes healing

Tears don’t fall but I know they come

Strength comes easy but that’s the only thing there

“I just want to live for me.”

She says.

Her heart is strained with pain that knows no past.

It’s not from 93

It’s current and it’s not going away

Her pain is fresh; it’s recurring in her mind triggered with questions of “why?” and “how could they?”

She gave and she gave but was still left with nothing

Her strength is battered and bruised but it’s still here

Her song she still sings but at a slower pace

Her smile still shows even in the face of hypocrisy

Her love is still there but it’s only a piece

Her wish is to just know why.

Her strength is keeping her head above water but sometimes you gotta go under.

Me.

I’m not where I need to be but I’m better than my past.

My trauma doesn’t hinder me as much as it did.

My strength is always tested and I’m tired of retaking.

I just want a day off from working

I just want to get off the ropes of fighting this constant battle of resilience

I just want to breathe!

She just wants to live!

Her heart just wants to beat again!

We just want to be Black women without “Strong.”

We just want to be us without having to save everyone. 

We just want to be Black Women Only.

I am her and she and they are me.

We’re tired of being the sword and the shield.

We just want peace.

Zion “Zee” McThomas is a 24 year old poet from Mississippi. They are a published author and are currently working on their second book. Their work has been featured in Bible Belt Queers and South Florida Poetry Journal.

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