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Juneteenth

Imagine with me
2.5 years ago
Pause here a moment
Before reading on
What is that thing
That has you shackled
For the last 2.5 years?

Is it illness?
Is it debt?
Is it worry for your child?
Is it depression?
Is it addiction?
Is it powerlessness?
Is it houselessness?
Is it fear?
Is it food insecurity?
Is it isolation?

Name it
Say it out loud with me
Pierce the silence
What would it mean
To be free of it?
How would it feel?
Pause here again with me
Take however long you need
To envision liberation

What if I told you
You became free
From those shackles
2.5 years ago?
What if you were carrying
All of that weight
When you became unburdened
2.5 years ago?
What if the anguish
That stole the days and nights
Could have vacated
2.5 years ago?

Today is such a day
Juneteenth
2.5 years after emancipation
From enslavement
Yet, no one had come
To speak of black liberation
Until now
From the edge of black labor
Never close enough to see
The scars, sweat, loss, and pain
2.5 more years squeezed
From
Withered
Free
Bodies

I celebrate in solidarity
And
As a white person
I mourn
We held a key behind our backs
Refused liberation
Extracted lifeforce
Rung every last drop of control
For 2.5 years
And then
Rose up in vicious attack
As if something had been stolen
From
Us

Come back with me
Look down and find
Those shackles
And imagine
You had been free
2.5 years ago
It was all unnecessary
And stirred up with
Exhilaration
Is something else
Another feeling
What is it?
What is it?
What is it?

Today
And onward
The feelings
I find there
Are light
To guide my path
My face down
Envisioning liberation
And the extortion of
2.5 years

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Rebecca Greenidge

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