Built of Matchsticks

How could we have known? 
As children we were burnt wood scented wax against the blackness of our sky. 
We did not know then, I am certain now that we were the few who learned to navigate 
without the luxury of stars, we became them. 

The world is different now
yet are we not still commodities?  
mocked for our traditions and tongues

I am no longer invisible, though there are days I wish to be. 

I can hear the bones of my people grating underneath malnourished skin, 
is this the freedom we speak of? 
If so this word is no more than a veil used to dim the reflection of distorted mirrors. 
There is no comfort in a culture coasting on the bodies of the culture you wish to drown and wash away.

Have we so soon forgotten that they called us a stain? 

I fled to the cities to find myself, but I will always be running now. 
My heels are bloody but I will always be running,
do not follow 
your young arthritic knees will not hold you here
and I need your eyes to shine like the stars we never knew.

Walk softly, I pray
you are the light
and I do not wish to be remembered
as the girl who killed 
                              the very last candle.

Kathrynn Roosevelt