I’ve been dreaming. In my dreams, my sisters sit in circle formation, our legs crossed after a long day of picking okra. We laugh and cry with one another. We share secrets and indulge in nostalgia.
“Remember when we spent our days fighting, scheming, plotting….trying to find our way here?” Her long, curly mane is chopped short. Her face is rounder than it once was. Her eyes are tired, but they are happy. Her brown skin shines with sweat, proof of her labor. She labored with me long before there was okra to pick, long before there was land to call ours. She toiled beside me when we were trapped, when freedom felt necessary, but unlikely and we were the only ones who believed.
Before us sit the women who joined us along the way: strong, intolerant and sarcastic; graceful, unsettled and free; fierce, dogmatic, and confident; sensitive, volatile and passionate; quiet, unquestioning, and loyal.
They are the most beautiful women; goddesses who have dedicated their lives to gathering water the old fashioned way, so long as it’s pure; queens who have fed our entire village with their unyielding commitment to exertion under the unforgiving sun; warriors who have shot down the enemy with arrows, bullets, and rocks; empresses who teach our children to define for themselves what freedom looks like; visionaries whose art is celebrated throughout our town.
There were patches of feuding; when reconciliation seemed impossible, when ideas clashed, and spirits disagreed. But here we are. They are my tribe.
I’ve been dreaming. In my dreams, a rock solid man makes love to me at night and builds our nation during the day. We make breakfast in the morning and shoot at old Coke cans in the fields. We study the greats and write love letters. They pile up in boxes we share with our children; an example of Black love.
“This is only the beginning. What is a nation of which mental slaves are citizens? What is a nation of homophobia, colorism, and misogyny? We’ve won a battle for resources, not the war for liberation.” His palms are pressed together, his long fingers point north. His brow furrows in concentration on ideas I know well. He doesn’t look at me, but ahead.
Before us sit the spoils of conflict and bloodshed: food, comfort, safety, art…...relief. Relief.
There were lovers before him, times when I wasn’t ready for or deserving of such a partnership; moments of hopelessness, of loneliness. But here we are. He is my king.
I’ve been dreaming. In my dreams, my children, Black children dance through empty streets with light in their eyes. They possess a special kind of innocence; one that has never known the tyranny of indoctrination. They will never sit in classrooms that train them to be complicit in their own genocide, in their own misery, in their own oppression.
“I am not a baby who was born in Babylon!” Their voices lift up in song. Their little hands interlock and they feel connected; they know they are one people, one hope. Their laughter is contagious
Before them is the future.
We warrior women didn’t know if we’d ever have the privilege of carrying pregnancies to term, if we’d make it through battle to delivery tables and fight through struggle to first birthdays. But here we are. They are our salvation.