Lynne Thompson

To Blackness

As it happens, I have never tired of blackness—its Marcus Garvey,
Raisin in the Sun, Tuskeegee airmen. Its Strivers Row and liver lips,
its Dred Scott, Freedman’s Bureau, Scott Joplin. Some say black is
swarthy, gloomy, evil, fiendish, but we all spring from the tribes—
Ashanti, Bobo, Fulani, Wolof—their cowrie shells and krobo beads
sewn into our fading fabric. I don’t know much about my original
blackness; my daddy, he say Igbo, the only word he can give me, but
it’s the only word I need to get the old folks to remembering that
in Igbo ututu is morning, abali is night, and in any mirror, my ihu,
my face, is always black.

Lynne Thompson
“To Blackness” is from Beg No Pardon (Perugia Press, 2007).