I know what it is
To be locked in a prison
Wards deep
Darkness more than light.

The bars have no surface.
I can grasp
No cold metal frame.
I can not smell the
Dank and musty cell,
Or feel the cobbled texture
Of the walls entombing me.
These confines were built
Inside of me.

I can lament
To no gaurd or keeper
To give in
To my release,
To turn a blind eye
While I turn my attention
To their keys.

I can beg no ableminded Judge
To see the blatant innocence
Of my case
And bid my jailors
Immediately release
Their hold of me.

There are no courtrooms
In which to plead my case
Because years ago
The darkness that haunted my Mother
Took ahold of me.

Her pain became my shadow.
Hers became the sentence
That I was made to pay
Just as her Mother failed
To take her pain away.

I weep for all of us.
I rage and storm and break.
I sink into desparation
Despair and lonliness
My namesake.

Yet, even here
In the naked mire of my flesh
I find hope
Through the darkness.

My mind is a trickster
Born of fear and misplaced rage.
My emotions are my keepers.
My perspective builds the bars
On my cage.

And if I can only focus hard
On nothing
I might find the escape
Of peace.

And if only I can find forgiveness,
For my sake if not theirs.
If only I can find the lesson
Amidst all the pain,
Maybe I can shorten the sentence
Commute my release.
Maybe if I can find the love
Hidden in amongst my hurting bones
I can free not only me
But those before me
And yet to come.

There has got to be a way out of
There has to be a healing key.
I’m determined to rise from this,
To break from the captors
Writ in my DNA,
Built on these beaten bones
Of my ancestor Mothers,
The shadows of our collective minds
Then they’ll nevermore call my kind crazy
But free.

-Angel Marie Russell

Please consider making a donation.