Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: 'Part the Clouds' a poem by Alicia Harmon

Part the Clouds

The day after slavery was abolished, many were still slaves.

Or maybe they were sharecroppers, a leased convict, a domestic laborer.

The clouds were still heavy with rain.

The day after the Civil Rights Act passed, my grandparents were still poor.

They raised their children in poverty, saying one day we’ll escape where we live, how we live, what we live through. One day, it’ll be better.

I swear the clouds are parting, and I can see the peak of the mountain.

They keep saying that the world is changing.

I keep trying to shake the ground we walk on, 

to be as radical as the revolutionaries who I grew up reading.

The movement is still growing up.

I’m still waiting to not fear the gun. 

I’m still waiting for the stop to these prisons saving us from our own Black wildness.

I’m still waiting for that 10-point program.  

Baby, I’m waiting for a whole lotta things.

I keep feeling tomorrow will be different. 

But the other part of me knows

it’s not the first time someone has performed for us, said one thing and did another.

Saying that they’ll save our neighborhood but gentrifying.

Saying they’ll desegregate but fleeing and leaving us with nothing 

Saying being tough on crime will make beautiful our communities

Painting Black Lives Matter on the streets but raising police budgets in reality.

I see through your masks, your smiles, your handshakes, your speeches, your strategy.

But they say the difference gon be profound this time.

In my weak faith, I’m waiting for your good theory, your good policy to trickle down some good.

I know folks out there love to watch the rain, watch it trickle,

but I’m not that good at patience, 

but I guess long-suffering is expected.

Of course, Black people have endless reserves of “maybe tomorrow.”

It has been eight days since. 

And I won’t say I’m pessimistic but I’m surely not hopeful.

I’m reserved.

How deep will you go?

Will you keep trimming the branches or will you stick your hands into the dirt, will you grip the dry soil, will you uproot the tree?

I question everything, and I take nothing for granted.

I trust not your word but your action.

Not your action but your follow through.

Maybe the clouds are parting. We’ll see. 

But know full well that if they don’t, I will run up to the sky myself and rip them apart.

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