Sojourner Truth photographed by Randall Studio c. 1870. (National Portrait Gallery; Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

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Sojourner: Daughter of Eden

She glides
dark angel
White wings strike
reddened sky

Bronze arms
braided hair
words like garland
in wind
She breathes, “Ain’t I . . .”

Eyes fixed fire
Tight pupils now ashen fists
A cavernous mouth
pours, “Ain’t I . . .”

Curved body
An anointed rib
Adam’s seed
broken, dropped
A secular womb cries, “Ain’t I . . .”

Thunder mounts
Lightning sears new horizons
Women sing purple songs
now, forever
to themselves
Ain’t I a Woman?


Note: This poem was previously published in All the Songs We Sing: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective (Blair, 2020).