Many of my race have lived long without the touch of
these fine things which separate us from beasts. Things
I call my own now. Having served thirty-six years as needleman
for a family far more ape than we will ever be, I rode
the moonlight train to find my free. Up here it is colder than I like,
but the gentlemen admire my frock coats above all. I taught my son this trade
and hope this picture I made will help retrieve him. Come summer I leave
this coast for Philadelphia where I hear we of color can breathe yet more free.
Tonight I stitch. The breeze off the bay smells of aria. It is almost the season for cloaks.
Samiya Bashir, “Waiting on the Reading” from Gospel. Copyright © 2009 by Samiya Bashir. Reprinted by permission of RedBone Press.
Source: Gospel (RedBone Press, 2009)