Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 1



Jericho Revisited

Cynthia Robinson Young


1.

Running away through oak and pine,
my ancestors’ nightmares continue in my dreams.
And as dreams go, I am catapulting through time and
space. I am in Newark with my father circa 1959,

surrounded, safe, then suddenly in the New South,
Black landscaped again, us, all moneyed up now. I am
migrating back to what was once feared,
returning

because I want safety
in the place that was never safe
we want the ghosts of bygone days purged.

The land my great grandparents slavishly worked,
appears peaceful . Still I hesitate at the border.
This southern soil has called me back for retribution, for
reparation, for all that was promised.


2.

We want to partake freely from southern richness,
like cold buttermilk and hot cornbread.
We stand in our tribes, waiting for our inheritance.
Our ancestors have led us back to their promised Land.

It has already been surveyed
by the first to return. They saw the monuments,
the statues, like giants, commemorating our enslavers,
celebrating their effort to hold us down. We feared we might

once again wear The Mask, but we are blended and bonded now.
We are all colors of peach, and tan and brown and black
and we don’t hate ourselves or each other for it.
See us marching around the Southern wall!

Hear us playing our saxophones and trumpets,
beating our snare and conga drums!
Watch us dance our dances—the Cakewalk Juba,
and Bop,Charleston, Camel walk and Chicken step!


3.

We will not be stopped for driving in our black skin.
We will not be shot in the back because we are running away
From the same danger
We will not be afraid to walk down dark streets
When all we yearn to see are the same stars

our ancestors saw, as they searched
for the Northern one
and breathe in indigo nights,
but we will do

whatever it takes
until the walls

all

fall

down.



Cynthia Robinson Young: "I am a native of Newark, New Jersey but now reside in the South where I is an adjunct professor at Covenant College and graduate student at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. My work has appeared in Sojourners, Poetry South, The Ekphrastic Review, and io literary journal, among others. For my chapbook, Migration, I was the Finalist for the Georgia Author of the Year Award, 2019."




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