Haiku and Tanka for Harriet Tubman

1

Picture a woman
riding thunder on
the legs of slavery    ...    


2

Picture her kissing
our spines saying no to
the eyes of slavery    ...    


3

Picture her rotating
the earth into a shape
of lives becoming    ...    


4

Picture her leaning
into the eyes of our
birth clouds    ...    


5

Picture this woman
saying no to the constant
yes of slavery    ...    


6

Picture a woman
jumping rivers her
legs inhaling moons    ...    


7

Picture her ripe
with seasons of
legs    ...   running    ...    


8

Picture her tasting
the secret corners
of woods    ...   


9

Picture her saying:
You have within you the strength,
the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars,
to change the world    ...    


10

Imagine her words:
Every great dream begins
with a dreamer    ...    


11

Imagine her saying:
I freed a thousand slaves,
could have freed
a thousand more if they
only knew they were slaves    ...    


12

Imagine her humming:
How many days we got
fore we taste freedom    ...    


13

Imagine a woman
asking: How many workers
for this freedom quilt    ...    


14

Picture her saying:
A live runaway could do
great harm by going back
but a dead runaway
could tell no secrets    ...    


15

Picture the daylight
bringing her to woods
full of birth moons    ...    


16

Picture John Brown
shaking her hands three times saying:
General Tubman. General Tubman. General Tubman.


17

Picture her words:
There’s two things I got a
right to: death or liberty    ...    


18

Picture her saying no
to a play called Uncle Tom’s Cabin:
I am the real thing    ...    


19

Picture a Black woman:
could not read or write
trailing freedom refrains    ...    


20

Picture her face
turning southward walking
down a Southern road    ...    


21

Picture this woman
freedom bound    ...    tasting a
people’s preserved breath    ...    


22

Picture this woman
of royalty    ...    wearing a crown
of morning air    ...    


23

Picture her walking,
running, reviving
a country’s breath    ...    


24

Picture black voices
leaving behind
lost tongues   ...