Photo by LadyDragonflyCC – >;< on Flickr.

Black Canadian History in Schools

I wasn’t taught that I existed when I was in school
Black was an outline Not even a colour
A shade to keep the light out. A border between spaces that are real…
white spaces like the inside of the line and the outside of it
The line locking me into myself.

white spaces have been whitewashed

to cover up a creation that came long before
and above this sky when we were
before everything in the atmosphere.

The black line is the picture the possibility the creation the imperfection in perfection:

Remember to look at us directly.

I knew we were ancient, but I didn’t know we were original.
Just like the distance between my mother and I. It confuses us both.
So does the white space between us and our kin.

No one made it clear that we were gods
before gods were impossible to conceive.
No one made me think we were unique in that regard especially.
No more hardworking or honest people.
No one told me.
They pretended the opposite.

I thought white came before everything.
By that I mean I thought white men hunted dinosaurs and sabretooths,
and somehow made women out of ribs.

I believed they invented the fires and walked on the waters
taught Jesus to fish, and gave him his mother immaculately
with a ‘holy’ blonde mane

I can’t believe white before anything anymore.
Anything they have ever tried to force upon me has rebelled.
If black holds the universe
or a drop of water holds it all
Then let me live as magnetic eclipse with ebony magic over the tides.

I could always see in the dark…always felt safer in a shadow where the light stays out.
Never liked getting burned by Sunday snow
Prefer the refection of moon on mirror of lake.

Sonya Littlejohn is published in two anthologies: Other Tongues and Sustenance. Her poem “Lands-cape” is in Oratorealis (Issue 2.2). She has been hosting writing workshops and offering poetry performances in BC high schools and with youth since 2011.

Tags:   poetry writing contest writing in the margins

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