I awoke this morning still sweating from my feet stomping through the mud to the rhythm of the rain. My throat dry, for I gave my voice to the healing water. Together, we called her and she nourished us as we danced in her glory. My people felt much relief. There were beads and bells and women singing. The medicine woman who looked over us was held up by the strongest arms in our tribe. She chanted shrill melodies from your heart, and I felt their meaning in mine.
I chanted with her. This was my language too, and each syllable moved me. I looked down at my dirty veiny feet and sunk them deeper into the earth. We stayed dancing until the water dried. The ground pulled me in and I pounded more for that feeling of being connected. I was safe in my fear. Safe in my anger. I gave it to the ground and the ground sprouted for me. The men brought fire and drums. It got hot.
I began to recognize faces. I saw you. You danced like fire under the moon. We loved you so. I thanked the creator for having been reunited with you. How long had it been? I began to remember that we have been here before. I remember the men coming at night and raiding our village. I lost my baby. But this… This was before my baby was taken. When were they coming? Could I stop them now?
I find my girl and I dance with her. She is alive here and we cover our bodies with Earth’s colors and celebrate more. It seems like we never stop celebrating. I smell yellow flowers. I taste red fruit from the tree. There are so many people here and I can feel all of their thoughts.
My muddy bare ankles are shackled to my sister’s. The one with heaven in her voice. We were dragged to a wooden ship where we sat too close and could see the men across from us. But they wouldn’t look. She cries and cries and I tell her to sing. But she can’t. I tell her that she will get her time. I am here to tell her that she will have her time.
My gaze falls into the wooden slats on the ship and I can see another ship, and another ship and another ship. And I remember them shaving my head. I remember hiding. I remember trying to escape. I fall asleep feeling drugged and sore.
And, that’s when I woke up– finally understanding why I’ve been having so much pain in my feet, and why I actually have markings that reflect trying to escape shackles. I’ve often hidden these parts of me… My feet. Not anymore.
Image credit: reconnections.net