Welcome, a feeling I can never have in my own home
A word, meaningless to me because people toss it around with abandon,
Then render it useless, less than great
I imagine, as a child of God, that the day I make it to heaven
The Lord will open his big, proud, papa-like arms shouting
For once I will feel welcomed, home, welcomed home
His eyes shining with love for his daughter,
Love not asked for, begged for, a love unconditional
Akwaaba! my Father would say, pulling me in tight
And everything I didn’t understand in this transitory life becomes clear,
Open, free, knowledge not for the taking but freely given
For my Father has welcomed me home and in my Father’s house everything is given, given with love
Stranger in my mother’s arms I hope that
One day I will feel welcome, six years since I’ve felt her touch
Two bodies, one coming from one, coming from none, separated, how can they rejoin?
When the flesh of her flesh has come home again, will it be welcome?
It is no longer the soft, innocent, naive pink it once was
But a multitude of colors over a scarred up beautiful body
Will I be welcome, different as I may be
Foreign, unknown, once hers now something she doesn’t know
What does it feel like to welcome someone into your heart,
Not merely let them take a tour
But the extended vacation, permanent, for life?
Will I ever be able to yell and shout, akwaaba!
Offering love and compassion to whoever walks by?
Will I ever be able to open up, lay my heart bare and
Whisper akwaaba to my secret loving place
This heart of mine that’s been through so much
Will my daddy ever be able to say that to me again,
Smile on his face, laughter in his eyes, me in his arms?
The day I finally open my soul
Will he shout and jump with joy, yelling akwaaba! for the whole world to hear,
Or will he shut me out, push me away,
Because sinners are not welcome here?
Akwaaba, I will say to him, look at me
Long lost daughter hiding in plain sight
Akwaaba, I will say to him,
but will he answer back?
Will the world welcome me the day I finally get tired of my
Blackness, queerness, intelligence, confidence, my pure existence
A nuisance to the cause?
The fact that a professor at Temple said race before gender is not the only problem,
But the fact that he was a black brother makes it worse
My femininity is not a weakness, no less important, to be cast aside
Every aspect of my identity oppressed, the intersections refusing to rise together
Choosing to remain separate because one might bring the other down
We are all human, deserving of love
Deserving to be welcomed
Is that what we children of the night say to each other
before we blow each other’s brains out?
Bruised, black, bloody
When we welcome the younger generations into the this system of self-hatred and depreciation
We are hurting ourselves
Let our skin not be a welcome to violence but a good luck charm,
A sign of hope
A reminder that those before us were able to brave it through
So we will too
I whisper to myself, alone
Little girl, big heart, afraid
So many passions, fervently driven, but I need a minute
I need a minute to think, because
Because how can I love the world when I can’t love myself?
Can’t appreciate this body of mine, this heart of mine, this life of mine?
How can I welcome someone to the charred remains of a soul?
I try to take on the world but on my quest for solving world hunger I forgot
I forgot that I could not feed others if I have not fed myself