Gullah Geechee Queen
-for Queen Quet I met the Gullah Geechee Queen After the vernal equinox When azaleas blew Their kisses of color Across green Carolinas When icy air Still lingered in the morn The chieftess came And me without a gift. I heard the Gullah Geechee Queen A delivered warning A foreboding “Grant Gullah Geechee Their dignity, their expertise Abscond the mockery Of feigned anointing Understanding awaits.” And I saw the wrongs in daylight. I gazed upon the Gullah Geechee Queen Sweetgrass grace Fluid, free she danced Haunted, restored she danced A freedom I’ll never know Pulsed in her veins It swayed She swayed With my ankles shackled, I have no people. I heeded the Gullah Geechee Queen She spoke in tongues Sounds, foreign and familiar Waves, salty and true Errors of history Cultural calamity Rising water An acid sea And felt worldly pain. I hummed with the Gullah Geechee Queen Somber elders Royal ministers Drumming filled the air An ancient rhythm Voices rose A song Their song I sang off key. I paid my homage to the Gullah Geechee Queen An angel oak A regal frame Robed in purple Like Spanish moss Uncurled to display Above her brow A seashell crown I breathed. I hoped.
Danielle Verwers was born in Ft. Riley, Kansas, but has lived all over the country. She now calls Columbia, SC home where she lives with her husband and five children. When she is not writing or reading, she is urban hiking, exploring small towns, or catching up with friends.