Refund

We were a people once considered
less than human
by the less humane of us;
“children of a lesser god.”

Poverty plucked us ripe
to rotten
beneath our oppressor’s
sanguinary consciences,
but we refused to wither,
refused to wilt
in the heat of their hatred
so we waited;
for the finishing touch
of leather and chains
to immortalize not our names
but our reign
as not mere survivors,
but they that thrived
higher than the cotton clouds
we dreamed to pick.

We dreamed to lick
the flavor of feeling
something more
than scars peeling,
and we did.

In exchange for a noose
we bid our necks,
for a memento of hope
hung loose to locket;
bait our souls
for justice to bite,
exchanged our pains
for change to pocket
and finally
refunded with life.

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