In the middle of a pristine estate sits
a house. It does not move. It does not
have to. Everything it needs or wants
is brought to it. The house does not care
that it will only ever see one slice of the world
or that its stability is designed to trick
its inhabitants into believing they need it
more than it needs them. The house is made
of “my grandparents didn’t own slaves”
and “what are we calling you people these days?”
Around the edge of the estate travels
an RV. Sometimes it exhilarates in the ability
to shift perspective and feel the wind
but mostly the movement feels forced
and the bugs on its windshield are annoying.
The RV wants so much to be a house
it does not value its resemblance to other vehicles.
The circular road it travels is devoid of intersections.
There are no rules of the road, no need to adapt
or react. The RV expects you to wait for justice
because equality is more important. The RV
enjoys the fruits of a movement ignited by
an urban riot while denouncing the thugs
of Ferguson and Baltimore.
I am an intersection. Always in the middle
of everything, exposed to every storm and pothole.
I can see the RV and I know the house exists
but my blackness, my femaleness, my queerness
my mental instability can never provide shelter.
So when the white gay man in charge
of this conference tells me he does not need
to address the racist foundations upon which
this weekend is built because there is a panel
on race from two to four the next afternoon
I rip off a piece of my asphalt and hurl it at the RV
as it passes by. This man refuses to hide his attraction
to men and celebrates my attraction to women
but expects me to peel off my African ancestry
until it is convenient for his schedule. He believes
that discussion of race and racism is an optional
two-hour journey. He believes that the master’s tools
will dismantle the master’s house.
Tolonda Henderson is a poet, a librarian, and a Harry Potter scholar. She writes from the perspective of a queer African-American woman raised in New England and living near Washington, DC. She is the Bout Manager for the Beltway Poetry Slam and regularly performs at Busboys and Poets and the legendary Spit Dat. Her work has appeared in Freeze Ray Poetry, Big Lucks Journal, Yellow Chair Review, and Melancholy Hyperbole.