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Rest in Power

By Nailah Starks, Dillard University

To you, my black girl…my black woman

I want you to know that I hear you…that I acknowledge all you are, fleas and all.

I want you to know that I pray every night for you to Rest In Peace, no, Rest In Power because I know things have never been easy.

I know that they’ve took turns ripping your lips to shreds because a woman is to be seen and not heard

and now they demand you speak up but how can one speak up with no voice?

They’ve convinced you to hate your voice.

Be submissive, not demanding. Quiet, not commanding. Careful with ideas too big, and always always understanding.

Because you’re not allowed to feel. Feminist cries and movements ruined that for you. You get to man up.

I pray every night for you to Rest In Peace, no, Rest In Power because there was no funeral when they killed the little girl within. You didn’t get to mourn or cry or even wonder why or scream

she died.

The little girl who never got the chance to be a little girl and grow and learn before they filled her head with lies and said she wasn’t beautiful. That she wasn’t or couldn’t.

They convinced her that her sex appeal was enough to replace the heal-ing that she so desperately needed. They convinced you to hate who you are at your core…they painted a picture of a whore…they taught you that the magic word Love opens Pandora’s Box and you’ve learned to give gold to anyone who knocks.

They told you that you were the prize that was meant to be regifted time and time again because the best way to get over someone is to get under someone new but they didn’t account for the toll it’d take on you. Soul ties and heart breaks tore more and more like your wrapping paper layers.

I pray every night for you to Rest In Peace, no, Rest In Power because they’ve beaten, stolen, and molested their way into raping the very essence of you.

They silenced because it’s not kind or ladylike to jeopardize a fellow brother’s reputation…after all, he is a great guy.

You suffered at the hands of immoral fools at your expense,

and boy how expensive that must be.

I pray every night for you to Rest In Peace, no, Rest In Power because I know they’ve convinced you that you’re crazy.

That 1 plus 1 does not equal 2 and what you did to them is worse than what they did to you and that you’re the guilty party if you fix your lips to accuse and mental and emotional attacks are not really abuse.

Your mind is etched with things to remember: how to be a lady; how to get a man; how to speak; how to be strong; how to pretend to be strong; how to be considerate of everyone else; how to put yourself last; how to listen; how to behave; how to cook; how to clean; what to wear; what not to wear; what to wear only when they are watching; what to think; what to feel; what to watch out for; what to be mindful of; when to say this; when to say that; when to say nothing at all; where to go; where not to go; where to go only when no one is looking; who to trust; who not to trust; who to love; who not to love; who to act like you love; who to hate; who to disregard; who to follow; who to accept; who to pray to; who to tell.

All these things and more to remember everyday. You must not forget them or you’re done.

But you’re not.

Here lies

every black woman carrying a little black girl

honor drips from your spirit as your melanin graces this world.

The glory is yours and the glory is mine because this black girl speaks and that black girl shines.

I want you to know that I’m here for you.

You don’t have to dumb yourself down to live up to their standards.

You are not a build-a-woman waiting to be filled with their stuff.

You are worth more than rubies.

Shade, age, no matter…they will never find another.

My black girl…my black woman

I want you to know that your voice is as gentle and feathers, as sweet as cotton candy, and as sharp as glass.

Don’t continue to curse us with your silence, we need you.

It’s your passion and emotions that turn houses into homes and groceries into meals and seeds into babies.

Don’t continue to make us suffer. In a world where everything is black and gray, we need your color.

It’s your turn to heal, time for your health, happiness, and sanity to come first.

I know there’s no turning back, but maybe this time you can hold that little girl’s hand and walk her through the dangers of what she will encounter.

Somewhere, deep down, a part of her still lives on.

My dear black girl…my black woman

Your body is not a buffet for boys to come in and take what they like and leave everything else behind.

No, there are no making reservations here

Premier access only.

Permanent residence only.

You’re so filling , a man could feast on you for a lifetime and still be hungry.

These boys are looking for something quick, easy, and unsustainable. That’s why they made McDonald’s.

It is not your fault what that monster did to you, he was a predator.

Please, the world needs the real you again.

Break the mold his hands bound you with.

You are everything.

You are not crazy.

You were not created to encompass man’s idea and expectation of who you are

do you know whose you are?

You’re a limited edition.

A daughter of the one and only King,the one and only God.

There is purpose, power, privilege, provision, purity, and peace inside if you.

The blood of Jesus graciously swims through your body.

Can’t you feel it?

Do you know what God says about you?

Here lies

progress not perfect

power not depression.

You may not have everything you want, but you have everything you need.

As long as God has your front and your back, He can work everything out in between.

An enigma at its finest, there’s magic racing through your veins

Though life and people have taken a lot from you, look at all of you that remains.

You are home, the catalyst of generations to come

who shall never fear this fallen world because everything in it, God has already won. It’s been a mystery since Him

Wisdom mocks whoever’s comin’

What it takes to run this world

What it takes to be a woman.

About the Author

Nailah Starks is a 20-year old Sophomore English major at Dillard University with a vision to become a successful teacher and writer. Her poetry has been published in the 2019 and 2020 Appelley Rising Stars collection as well as the 2020 Upon Arrival anthology by Eber and Wein Publishing. She also has her own blog, Praying Girl, and her own business, N&N Charms. Nailah's personal mission statement is to educate, influence, transform, and inspire people who face adversity through her writings and personal experiences.

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