Oumar Farouk Sesay is a Sierra Leonean poet, playwright, and novelist. He works in the private sector, and he is currently the President of PEN, Sierra Leone chapter. His poem, “Song of the Women of my Land,” is on the Literature-in English syllabus for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
I came on the back of a garbage truck in the morning after
You left the Black Lives Matter Plaza to pick the trash left behind
Then I found the debris of frustration and anger littering the Plaza
I came just after you were smoked, gassed, and trampled upon
For a photo op with a borrowed bible turned upside down
The raw smell of your anger lingered in the Plaza.
The pus from the unhealed wounds stained the tarmac.
The sound of the lashing whip on tender skin still hung in the air.
The frustration scaled the open nerves of a nation’s rage like a ranger.
The anger swirled like a cyclone to storm the house your servitude built
But the mast of your hope for justice and peace towered over the Plaza.
Even though on that day, horses were made to rise on their hind legs against you
The betrayal of a promise made your founding fathers turned in their graves.
And soldiers raised their weapons against you in an act of infidelity to the founding fathers.
Amidst the chaos, you still said your piece of no justice, no peace at the Plaza that day.
As I picked your trashed hopes, I felt the fire from the furnaces of your rage still burning like a funeral pyre.
I touched the texture of the dreams you left on the wayside to look for absolution from the house of your toil
The slime of despair from minds shackled in hate still drenched the Plaza
The morning after you left the Plaza, I picked more than the garbage truck can carry to the dumpsite.
I trudged home that day, with the brokenness you left behind to piece together a tapestry of a people struggling for freedom in the land of the free and the home of the brave for four hundred years of servitude.