I wear seven waist beads, two for each tribe,
For my mother’s people,
And another two for my father’s clan
I wear one for my virginity
And another two as a symbol of the fusion of two villages that caused my birth
I wear my people on my hips
And wherever I go, I carry villages and clans with me.
To the town as I went, I wore my beads underneath
Even when I ridded my filthy rags, I kept them with me
On the day I finished high school, I wore them with me
Their smooth chakra sound calms my spirit
When I received best graduating prize, I wore them to the stage
I took my clan with me and beamed with pride.

But when I went to the city,
For school and work as I should
The girls in my room would stare
Who wears cowries and these sorts of chains?
No, these are my people, I carry my village with me
Their laughter would not cease, my people they would tease
Your skin is too dark, here’s a soap for you
A cream just for the face and two more for my hands
But each time I would try
My beads would rebel
I could hear their voice so loud even when I slept

Dear child,
You carry a village with you
An entire tribe and clan wherever you go
And history is wrapped around your hips
Dear child, why lose who you are?
So I straightened my pose and wore my melanin with pride
I am Queen of my people for I carry them with me,
On my skin, on my hips, in my gait, on my tongue, in my dress
In my hair, in my today and my tomorrow
I take my people across continents and countries
And preach them to new people, I teach them the songs of my tribe
Today I give a speech for the President
My clan and I became an honors student
We stand amidst applause and cheers
I have a poem to recite
You already know the title
For I carry my people wherever I go.
I now wear ten waist beads
I carry my husband and children wherever I go.






Photo by Askar Abayev from Pexels