If I could walk across the ocean, I would walk back to Africa. I would cross the middle passage, picking up drowned souls as I walked. I would carry them back to the African shore and put them down upon our sacred land to flow back to their homes. I would get down and kiss Mother Africa for waiting for our return. I would lie down and try to wrap my arms around the sand, around the broken heart of Africa who saw her sons and daughter stolen from her soul. Stripped from a land that was their source of strength, and they were hers. How do you look a mother in her eyes and apologize for the greatest sin ever perpetrated on her children? How do I look her in the eye and explain why I couldn’t carry home all the souls from their watery graves? I lay there crying stolen tears for those who will never cry again — trying hard to understand why Mother Africa still stands strong, knowing they stole many of us from her bosom. There were tribes lost, histories forgotten. They wiped out the memory of great legacies. I close my fists full of the sand-filled blood of my kin. I remember the heavy chains that rubbed our necks and ankles raw as they moved us away from our villages. I still hear the screams of mothers crying for their children ringing in my ears. They took our gold and our diamonds, but the most significant resource they ever mined was Africa’s soul. We used to go to the ocean to fish and swim, and now we go to throw flowers into a watery grave. We will never be whole again. I rise from the sand and say goodbye. Once again, I stand on the shores of America, and my walk brings me back from my dream of taking my kin home. I rise from the sand and stumble back to my car. No one can deliver us back to Africa, and no one can deliver Africa back to us.
© Q. Javon Overton 2019