They prepare for wolves
Because the horror stories are known
When a baby cries
The whole village responds
Waiting to protect all that is soft
Thought that was law
But the historians keep trying to rewrite my autobiography
Say the story I grew up with was a lie
That same baby grows up and the village stops listening
When the Black woman screams fire
Villager is upset that he doesn’t get to piss on flame
That she’s just crying rape
To many say
“Peasants will be peasants”
In the second act of this fable
She had to cut herself from his stomach
and town folk still want to know
why she was carrying a knife?
Why was she out past lamp light?
if she had been a White sheep
Would the Herder have heard her?
If I am made crime scene will they blame me for walking home after the festival
For trying the rum
For wearing my best robes
“We let wolves roam free here”
“Why did you go outside looking like a whole meal?”
The Roe v. Wade decision essentially mandated the idea that my body is my own. I have control over myself and my future. I don't have to have children because a White politician said so. I am privileged to have access to contraceptives of all kinds, despite my southern education that preached abstinence.
Read this poem out loud. Then do that again. Not only does Shasparay Lighteard implement impeccable metaphor to describe the racialized difficulties that come with being a black survivor of rape but she also inserts a singular, well-contrived musicality that emphasizes the innocence that is lost when black children, particularly black girls, are exposed to the odium of sexual violence.
Bio and Links
Shasparay Lighteard is a Black, queer, performing artist from Austin, Texas, currently pursuing a B.A. in Theatre and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a recipient of the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Full Tuition Scholarship. She was a speaker at the 2016 TEDxYouth Austin conference and is a National NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medalist. Shasparay has been a finalist in national and regional slam competitions such as Women of the World Poetry Slam, Southern Fried Poetry Slam, Texas Grand Slam and is the two-time Lip Stick Wars Poetry Slam Champion. Shasparay’s work has been featured on Button Poetry, Youth Speaks and Huffington Post.