With their many tongues, we were the one language
       they could each speak
Even the masters understood underneath hump and hale,
       labor of the load
We healed the numbing made

Even when she abandoned us for the music of bars and sex,
       you could hear
Spirit in her sway, watch her feet remember stomping
Her body ring shouts

We made her we un-troubled the waters became her balm in Gilead
A deep down light in her darkest days we a band of angels
Come to take her home

Monica Hand, “The Spirituals speak” from me and Nine​. Copyright © 2012 by Monica Hand. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Alice James Books, www.alicejamesbooks.org.