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Self-Portrait

Feature Image

At age eighteen in sixty-six

Her alter persona was masking a mix

A fledgling artist, on canvas, portrayed

The words of the secret

She could not say

The person she painted was staged in odd pose

In loose fitting dress not tinted in rose

Instead, it was brilliantly gaudy in hue

Orange was the color …an obvious clue

The flowing gown, which was painted bright

Enhanced darkened skin, denying her white

Remorse was transferred from core to core

She was the first painted

…but there would be more

And as each black woman did unfold

The pregnant girl’s art

captured feelings untold

The silence she was told to keep

Haunted her nightly as she tried to sleep

Her pillow was moist with private tears

And there were suffocated visions

clouded in fear

Where would her infant baby be

From time of birth through eternity

The artist felt so all alone

Shamed in such untimely zone

Then the paint would dry

And another day end

Until her painted emotions

would purge again.

Birthmother/ Artist/ Author

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