No City For Black Angels

oh, how long we had to wait to be white!

i’m convinced you died for that purpose,
to disrobe from the terrors of your life
and soar with no fear of being maimed?

yes! look at us now, so free! (ghosts twirl)

to not be black. is that what heaven means?

yes! look at us now, not black! (ghosts spin)

but why are you so cold? pale but not beautiful.
and where are your wings? where is your light?

Author’s Note: Two years ago, I wrote a poem titled “there must be black angels in heaven” because I had questions about representation that spanned beyond this realm. A few days ago, my younger sister said to me, “I’m reading something that says apparently we are made in the image of God on the inside and now it makes sense to me. All this time I wondered how we could all possibly look like God.” I have struggled with the concept of there being no race in the kingdom of God and yet, for years, overlooking my grandmother’s bed was the picture of a man with pale skin and blue eyes, an image I have tried hard to unlearn. This poem, “no city for black angels” is written in the form of a dialogue between the living and non-living, and forms part of a series of poems about death and the many theories humans have about what the afterlife looks like.

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