by Georgia McDade
Separation—from loved ones, from all they knew
first in Africa
then in the “new world”
often repeatedly in the land of the free
psychological pain and suffering then, more later, now, maybe forever
pain transferred to children.
Herded, sold as if they were animals,
bred at the master’s discretion
barely enough food for subsistence
shacks, huts for shelter
rags, hand-me-downs for clothes
bodies always at the mercy of earth’s elements.
They must have suffered some of the ailments from which we suffer
and lacked any of the treatment we sometimes get.
Still they survived; some unexplainably thrived.
Lashed and otherwise punished at a whim, they endured
sexual harassment, sexual assault.
The fear must have been overwhelming yet not paralyzing—they moved.
Anyone lifting a voice—not to mention a hand—suffered, sometimes mightily,
We shall overcome.
Yes, no doubt.
But we can say of much we have overcome as we continue to overcome.
Featured image: Slave Ship by MW Turner