Invocation: Pretty For a Black Girl

HERE words form haphazardly, and they are the jagged breath of a dying man. The last one will spray onto the page and its stain will linger, but it will seem that there was more to say. They will be crude and unvarnished and raw, but they will be.
When God was still alive I would have petitioned a favor.

Help me, I would have begged. I would have swallowed thickly and my throat would have ached and I would have felt a deep and abiding embarrassment in my chest; it would have seized my heart and for a moment I would see clearly my mortality, and I would have pressed any negative thoughts past that which I thought God would have seen. My link to hm was tenuous, torn asunder by the mere thought of wrongdoing.

Help me. I would have begged. Please help me write.

I would stare blankly at the page then and wonder if the first words should be a dedication to him, God, if I might be smote to the depths of hell if I did not. But the words I gave before were all that I could muster, and there was never room or word enough for God.

I did not receive the favor. My prayer was too low in my chest, or perhaps he was too high to reach, or, more likely, he had already died. My words, secular though they were, were my own.

I would invoke the muse, had I one. Move in me muse. Sing in me muse. My mind would travel to paradise and I would be lost in it and I would imagine them, the words, erupting like spring blossoms or spilling out like awakened virgins, but when the pen pressed against the page the muse would have gone, or she would have sighed into another missive dedicated to the boy whose eyes locked with mine or the dance that I wouldn’t be allowed to attend.

Here instead I remember yesterday and tomorrow and I grab the words that I know and mourn the loss of ones long gone and yearn desperately for the arrival of ones that will free me.

I will look in the pages beyond and see my body and myself and I will be pretty and intelligent and whole and pretty.