Alphabet Soup…Sans the Noodles

A is for…
Africa
The Gold Coast, Bright of Benin and the Bight of Biafra
where my ancestors were abducted
brought to the Caribbean
as property to work
on sugar cane, coffee and banana plantations

B is for
Brooklyn
the place I came forth
from the comfort of mom’s womb
during a major snow-stormimages-1

C is for
Catholic School
my father insisted
we go to instead of
the public school across the street
where kids all the shades of brown
attended

D is for
Divorce,
did not happen
when Dad moved back to Jamaica
and mom stayed in the States

E is for
Elena
the first part of my name which translates to
Helen in English

F is for
Fairy tales
Snow white, sleeping beauty, cinderella
wow, a man would rescue me
from all the evil in the world
if I were white

G is for
Gynecologist
years to find
one who was like me
and did not treat
my body
as an oddity

images

H is for
Honduras
where my mother’s Jamaican grandparents
migrated for work
long after slavery

I is for
Identity
Honduras, Jamaica, Scotland, Ireland, India and lastly
America
not the north or the south
but where it’s supposed to be united
but is not

J is for
Jamaica
the country of my father’s and siblings’ birth

K is for
Knowing
coming of age
as an Afro-Caribbean

L is for
Lies
black hair, black skin
big lips, big butts
excludes us from
straight hair
anorexia
Botox
butt lifts
Girdles, lipo
hell no
And…
Black don’t crack

M is for
McCalla (McCullough)
the name of the two Scottish brothers who migrated to Jamaica
and purchased the
ancestors who were stolen from Africa
to work as property
on their sugar cane, coffee and banana plantations
while producing picaninnies to be sold
as property

N is for
Nigger
the name I was called at the all-white
Catholic School
my father insisted I and my siblings
attend

O is for
Ovaries
that decided at the age of
27 to call it quitsimages-2

P is for
Parents
Margarita Walsh (McCalla) May 24th, 1927-October 7th, 2018 (Honduras, Scotland, India)
Noel Emmanuel Walsh May 10th, 1921- May 9th, 2010 (Jamaica, Ireland)

Q is for
Questioning
the world
not settling for
what the Catholic School taught
and yes
Catherine the Great
had a thing
for animals

R is for
Real Estate
mom and dad
bought a house
and became landlords
so, no one could ever
refuse to rent to us

S is for
Sisters
who resented the
burden I was
to their freedom

T is for
Tolerance
for other stories
other celebrations
other holidays
fireworks
that represent nothing
to the house
that slaves
built

U is for
Understanding
what my parents
went through
to provide
for me

W is for
Walsh
he last name of the Irish man who
impregnated my father’s motherand left
my father
with just the
last name. Unknown

X is for
Xenophobia
born and raised in this county I didn’t ask to be born in
I am still a foreigner, an abnormality
because xenophobia allows
those with privilege and power to
hate us because we look different

Y is for
Yearning
for my parents
who accepted
me
as I was

Z is for
Zero
tolerance for
treatment as a sub-human
woman of colour
4th class citizen
bottom of the barrel
Not my circus
Not my monkeys
Not your nanny
Not your cleaning woman

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