I am my ancestors.
Their stories are my soil.
Their dreams are my birth marks.
Marks that sparkle like chewed stars
Shining brighter with each generation.
When I can’t figure out what color the day is
I wonder who made the ink that writes our stories.
Who wrote our curses in cursive?
Who figured out how to find the circumference to our circles?
Who chose for it to hurt here and not there?
Who decided for it to hurt us but not them?
Today’s color is mahogany.
The brown of wood.
The brown of us.
Today I don’t need to learn my history.
I can open my own book and
read the same plot of my ancestors.
I can trace the circles in our curses.
When massa hit my great great great great great grandfather
He hit us all.
His whip a wand.
So when daddy hits mommy
And mommy hits me
The pain is plagiarized
I like looking at my reflection in rivers.
The ripples reveal a truth.
I can see my dad in my chin.
My grandmother in my nose.
Her grandfather in my cheeks.
I can see the hereditary chains
Rusting into the brown of dry blood.
The trauma trickles down through rocks.
Filtered into something that hurts less
But yet feels the same.
I carry what they’ve been given,
Wondering how to break our circles,
How to make myself lighter,
How to make today blue.
Choya Randolph is an adjunct professor at Adelphi University with a B.A. in Mass Communications and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Her work has been published in Rigorous Magazine, midnight & indigo, Her Campus, The Crow’s Nest, Haunted Waters Press and elsewhere. She’s a proud Floridian who lives happily on Long Island in New York.