Black Joy - Koleka Putuma




Yet every time our skin goes under,

it’s as if the reeds remember they were once chains,
and the water, restless, wishes it could spew all of the slaves and ships
onto shore,
whole as they had boarded, sailed and sunk.
Their tears are what have turned the ocean salty,
this is why our irises burn every time we go under.

Every
December 16th,
December 24th and
December 31st
and January 1st,
our skin re-traumatises the sea.

They mock us
for not being able to throw ourselves into something that was instrumental
in trying to execute our extinction.
For you, the ocean is for surfboards, boats and tans
and all the cool stuff you do under there in your bathing suits and goggles.
But we,
we have come to be baptised here.
We have come to stir the other world here.
We have come to cleanse ourselves here.
We have come to connect our living to the dead here.
Our respect for water is what you have termed fear.
The audacity to trade and murder us over water
then mock us for being scared of it.
The audacity to arrive by water and invade us.
If this land was really yours,
Then resurrect the bones of the colonisers and use them as a compass.

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