Anxiety ransomed me
because of Nikki Giovanni

I got a book
once
black girl, nappy-headed and shy
unsure of my identity
feeling like society’s mistress
conveniently in the dark
but pleasing

so, I got a book
a poetry book
full of Nikki Giovanni’s
poems,
no scratch that
full of Nikki Giovanni’s
soul,
and I fell in love
with the
softness of those words slammed on the page
holding thoughts down
heaviness of these words floating off the page
lifting my thoughts
with the
vulnerability of her words swaggering around in my mind
introducing me to
the beauty of Black women
the power of Black minds
Nikki Giovanni ransomed me
with the sui juris intimacy of a kindred spirit’s
words unrestrained by any one
and I spontaneously combusted
from the fire of the blazes
that she wrote because
no man could edit the voracity
of her voice

I felt that with my
fist pumping in the air
I felt that with my
hip swaying to the beat
I felt that with my
tears training down my cheeks
because I felt my black sovereignty
conscious and released
I became word bougie
and literally loaded
no more anxiety or fear
of being seen and heard

I now ransom words
because of the great Nikki Giovanni
Qualm

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