Chrystos: “I Walk in the History of My People”

There are women locked in my joints

for refusing to speak to the police

My red blood full of those

arrested, in flight, shot

my tendons stretched brittle with anger

do not look like white roots of peace

In my marrow are hungry faces who live on land the whites don’t want

In my marrow women who walk 5 miles every day for water

In my marrow the swollen faces of my people who are not allowed

to hunt

to move

to be

 

In the scars on my knee you can see children torn from their families

bludgeoned into government schools

You can see through the pins in my bones that we are prisoners of a long war

 

My knee is so badly wounded no one will look at it

The pus of the past oozes from every pore

The infection has gone on for at least 300 years

My sacred beliefs have been made pencils, names of cities, gas stations

My knee is wounded so badly that I limp constantly

Anger is my crutch

I hold myself upright with it

My knee is wounded

see

How I Am Still Walking

 

Written by Chrystos, in “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color” (1981), eds. Cherríe L. Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa

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