By Julia Hayden Wakeford

I was born of these lands, of the Alabama creeks and mounds, the Ohio River Valley, the Carolina Coast

they each dreamt me, created me, they molded me from their earth,

Just as the Post Oak trees and Osage hills of Northeastern Oklahoma birthed me

it was from their lands I grew.

But I was raised by another

and she did not want me.

She tried to kill me, to do away with me;

and when that did not work

She tried to push me away, to move me;

and when that did not work

She tried to beat me into submission, to control me;

and when that did not work

She stole me, to use knowledge to change me;

and when that did not work

She scrubbed my tongue and cut my hair, to fix the flaws she hated in me;

and when that did not work

She sent me to war, to die;

and when that did not work

She begrudgingly adopted me.

She fed me propaganda as though it were love,

and now she neglects me.

She watches as I hang myself, as I drink myself to death, as I am raped, as I starve;

She watches as I search in vain for that from which I came;

She watches as I speak my tongue too soft for others to hear;

She watches as I hide in the shadows, forgotten;

She watches as I look for love to only find abuse;

She watches and she does not lift a finger or shed tear

because it is working.

So with this I no longer condone her abuse

with this I say no more.`

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