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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

Where It All Begins

My forthcoming book, When Black Women Breathe, is a labor of love. I'm taking my time with it - feeling, listening, being open and honest, facing what was, and all that is to be. I had to take a look at my own life, as a Black woman, and go back to the beginning. I had to remember where it all began and the path that has brought me here. That is how this poem was birthed.


And if for some reason

you desire to be normal, stop

and give it more thought.

You think it will be better,

like choosing organic fruit over the regular.

It still gets soft in the middle,

and bruises.

Remember when you stood on the porch

at your grandmother’s house,

and thought you’d always stay?

Always mindful of the crooked steps

and wobbly hand rail.

Cars with loud mufflers

sped down the wide street.

Crickets making their noises

on any summer night,

and you laid down

with the sheet pulled up

to your nose, because

you were scared of the dark.

Everyone in your neighborhood

had a story. You just never knew

how to tell yours.



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