Amari Cawthorne: “Dear Phillis Wheatley”

(“Tomorrow’s Voices Today“ is a new series curated by poet and educator Mike Sonksen.)


Dear Phillis Wheatley,

Was it really mercy that brought us from our pagan land?
Making it seem like they did us a favor is often a part of their plan.
You’re privileged to be here, put your right hand over your heart.
I’ve never pledged allegiance to something that didn’t pledge allegiance to me,
and i’m not about to start.

They taught your benighted soul to understand that there’s a God and there’s a savior too.
I bet they twisted the word of God to make it seem like this is what you were supposed to do.
I bet they told you this was God’s plan for you
and I bet they left out Exodus too.

Some view our sable race with scornful eye “their color is a diabolic dye.”
Who are they to say they are more pure than I?
Melanin and its beauty was here first and has flourished since the beginning of time.
How do they think they’re better than us when everything they have was stolen from us?
But I’m an angry black woman when i call them out on it,
they don’t want me to make a fuss.

Everybody wants to be black but nobody really wants to black.
They want to make America great again…
When was America ever great?
What time period was that?

Now is no different from then because they still don’t know how to act.
Because there is too many hashtags and it’s hard for me to keep track.
But I do keep track and I remember their names.
Dear Phillis Wheatley what we’re dealing with is the same.
We don’t have chains on our ankles but the pain still remains.

Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d and join th’angelic train
We have been praying for better days
We give our troubles up to God so our hands don’t posses any stains
Because it doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from
we are all the same at heavens gates

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