Cape Coast

My fresh ink represents going back to your roots
But they could never imagine how hard that is
When a tattoo begins to itch
It represents the coming permanence

As I travel back to the root of the diaspora
To the castles that started it all
Cape Coast Castle: A Seat of Government
Built on top of live slaves
But they call them captives

As I stand in the male dungeons
Under the Church of England
I resist the urge to scratch my ink off
There is complete terrifying darkness

I try to understand my ancestor’s pain
But I am distracted by
The Sankofa
The beak is coming out of my skin

Why is it resisting my return to soiled land?
I rip at my skin
The fresh Black pigment leaves in bits
Yet a blurry grey shadow still sits there

Reminding me
This is why I came
I can’t shy away from this

I am in the female holding cell
Imagining my mothers’ cries
The patriarchy interrupts me

Makes me wonder
If I will be able to exist
As a Black woman in pain
Without a Black man centering himself

I get to the door of no return
But I am able to go back
And envision my roots sprouting

I am here
For all those in my bloodline
Who couldn’t even dream for themselves
But dreamed for me