Ugly Histories

Before the reign of light skinned beauty, before the war of pale and dark

East of the Nigerian Delta and resting low amongst the viscous swampland

A baby born in ochre dust, plum-pudding black, eyes full of coal fire

Unbound by western influence and their disorders of mind and body.

There she reigned from her first sticky steps to a long hunting stride

In the savannah, boiling from red light to dark, husky from the chase

Full from the kill, slick with the sweat of victory and animal shapes

Until a night, drenched by the blood moon, when men crept and stole

Leaving her land deprived, ships packed with a weeping cargo.

by Charlotte Stirling


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