Remembering Who We Are (for Al-Bishak)

I remember 
those tomb tales that 
set you down the Nile to
see things for yourself  
and those coming 

yes, I remember 
how you used to sit up on 
the shelves of Alexandria 
beside the memories 
of long lost crowns

back then you used to 
scan the missing chapters 
and the gaps between
seeking out secrets  

I can't forget
how speck by speck you 
cleared the racial lies left 
over by the passing winds

how you used to sit 
afterwards by the sea
to dinners served by fairies 
from the scripts of legends

though we still sing with 
tongues not ours but of 
masters turned slaves trying 
to forget how to remember 
I will never forget

I shall keep the landmark 
for perhaps tomorrow we 
will hearken to your call
and try to locate our place

or perhaps some restless 
spirits defying the laws 
shall smash the locks and 
return us to who we are.

(c) Sumaila Umaisha

The poem was inspired by Professor Al-Bishak's BLACK PAPYRUS, an intellectual work that traces global origins of writing and written literature to black Africa.

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