Great Grandmother Crow

1740 Slave Code from South Carolina: “All negroes and Indians, (free Indians in amity with this government, and negroes, mulattoes, and mustezoes, who are now free, excepted) mulattoes or mustezoes who are now, or shall hereafter be in this province, and all their issue and offspring… shall be and they are hereby declared to be, and remain hereafter absolute slaves.”

Mahogany skin

Crisscrossed by comet streaks
And framed by a mane
Of lustrous ebony hair
Haloed out and around then
Her back
Her soul shone like endless night
Eyes bright and fey even
At 104 years of age

Her mother walked the Trail of Tears
Before she was born
Bloody feet and whip-torn backs
Still proud their souls
All Blacks and Browns
Proud Cherokee
And Crow
Of the ancient lineage
Called Negro and enslaved
By ignorance and

Torn by hatred
And jealousy
Their land and lives coveted
By the powerful
A system of segregation was created
Those Lighter
Divorced from the Darker and
Given the inheritance of their
Blood Brothers and
Acknowledgement of whom would result
In the most dire of

Her family stretches
From New York to Los Angeles
The hearth of her land the
Texas Panhandle and southern Oklahoma
She witnessed the end
Of Slavery
The birth of the Klan
And the Dream of
Martin Luther

Great Grandmother Crow
Told stories of her life
By lantern light
In her shack on the hill
Red dirt and rock the jewels
Of her Nile
Horny toads and tumbleweeds
Worshipped her in silent

Goddess Anasazi
Queen Mound Builder
Mother of the Cosmos
Great Womb of Creation
The children of her fertile crescent
Traverse the modern world
To their heritage
Relegated to storied fantasy
And undocumented

And yet tied they remain
Through blood and bondage
Souls wounded by life
In the 21st century
Calling out to a distant continent
Ancestral home of
The human experiment
Lost to the knowledge of themselves
And numbed by the battered images
Of demonized minds

Ancestral voices sooth her
Singing songs of the soul
Recalling distant days
Flickering flame and deer-skin drums
Midnight ceremonies held secretly
Anasazi Nation of Mound Builders
Conduct the Rites of Eternity
Dark and shining skin glistening
As they dance to the
World’s rhythm
Electronic beats rock the street while
Hip Hop’s popping locking body drops
Bring a faint smile to her face
As her feet remember
Dances of youth lost
And tribal nights
Of Black and

Great Mother
Great Grandmother Crow
She dances
As night calls her
Beckoning with bony fingers
Death’s fell gaze a rumor
Denied her life
The covenant of agelessness
Mark her progeny
Black velvet skin
Mahogany shades
Of light
And dark
Spiraling in harmonic leaps
Of Destiny


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