Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Lost and Found

Honey Bell-Bey performs “Lost and Found.”


Every little black girl needs to take a trip to
the lost and found.
Every little black girl needs to look through boxes marked 
“rejected,”
 “abandoned,” “promiscuous”
and if she’s too strong,
she needs to look through the box marked “arrogant” or “witch” pronounced with a “B”
all of that weave and all those naps, those locs...
she needs to look through the box marked “hair”
she needs to search, “light skin”, “dark skin” the box marked “fair”
those big lips and hips that drop with ease,
and you see them searching for Sarah Baartman with the drop of their eyes, 
every little black girl needs to remind herself that she is the prize.
Every little black girl needs to search
through the remnants of what another little black girl left for her,
she needs to take a trip through the lost and found and find her some “her”
Every little black girl needs to search through the lost and found.
She needs to look through the ballad of Sonia Sanchez
she needs to allow her ego to trip all the way with Nikki Giovanni,
she needs to assure Ntozake Shange that she is not considering suicide because the rainbow is enough,
She is not considering suicide because the rainbow is enough!!!!
She needs to dance through the Renaissance and find Zora Neal,
with her eyes still... watching God.
She needs to find Maya Angelou whispering in her ears “Still I Rise” 
and when you feel broken ,
you are still a phenomenal woman, even with their bitter twisted lies,
every little black girl needs to take a trip to the lost and found
and there singing and chanting and praising will be Nina Simone,
and she’ll tell you that you are
the fifth woman in the song
and she’ll invite you to join Aunt Sarah and Safronia and Sweet Thing 
and Peaches and Peaches 
she’ll tell you that these are the stories that only the living teaches
Every little black girl whose stumbled like me along the way, 
take a trip to the lost and found, and when you find it,
you leave a path for another black girl and when she finds it, she’ll leave a path  for another black girl and then when she finds it, she’ll leave a path for another black girl and then she’ll leave a path for another black girl and then she’ll leave a path for another black girl and then she’ll leave a path for another black girl!!!!!

Credit


Copyright © 2016 Honey Bell-Bey. Used with permission of the poet. 

Author


Honey Bell-Bey

Honey Bell-Bey is a poet, writer, educator, and community advocate. She is the founder and director for The International Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word and the poet laureate of Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Date Published: 2016-12-14

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/lost-and-found-0