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67| Shadow Rose

Natalie Byers


Why do we submit to the control and charms of the masses? is a question asked by a little white girl who spent adolescent Sundays in a black Full Gospel Baptist church. It’s a question found in cost of weaves, wigs, and nails while the bishop preached piety from the pulpit. While the alligator skin shoes, gold chains, and thick rings sang behind the organ, begged for devotion through dollars. What was that silence between the sin?

Maybe it's because we don't want to be oppressed, but sometimes being enslaved is easier and it pays the bills.

Maybe silence is agreeance, complacency, compliance.

Maybe it's the black woman TSA agent's pat down, fingers searching fro, while the white woman looks on, because they needed to check the boarding pass three times, because they aren't sure if you are male or female, ma'am, because they want you to fit in a tiny, rich, white box.

Maybe it’s using the word agreeance, even though it’s archaic, because it implies action.

Maybe it's deciding to act on behalf of persons of difference when you're a Midwestern middle class white woman who fancies herself queer, (but isn’t really sure in what way); to speak even though some say it's a fallacy to speak for persons you are not a person of, but it's also a fallacy to feign ignorance, and perpetuate the “imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.”

Maybe it’s because the grand narrative provides a false sense of security for ambiguous and arbitrary ideals that maintain a thorough ignorance of diverse minor narratives.

Maybe it’s the church rhythm, the clap of strong black hands, on long dark arms, on solid torsos guiding hard feet two taps left, two taps right, one left, two right, two left, one right, repeat. Their lavender voices drowning out my dandelion. Their lamb skin tambourines thumping over my awkward, off-beat blanketed snare.

Maybe we have to submit in order to survive.

Natalie Byers has a MA in English from Missouri State University where she taught introductory poetry and worked on the editorial staff for the Moon City Review.

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