Natasha Wall – “Young Black Historian” – A Poem

Young Black Historian
(Grandfather’s Garage)

I read it in an old book
when I was very young.
Somethin’ ’bout the pateroller
and how “they” was on the run.
The lines? They read like scripture
and the rhythm fried like sun.
Teachin’ history things to girl
when I was very young.

Pick up the chant and hear the roar
of each embracing line.
Feel music in your bone and grit
and stamp your foot in time.
Don’t ever catch the colored man,
you pateroller pig!
But always keep him on the run
or else the leaves were rigged.
‘Cuz it’s not the catch, just the chase
that makes my Africa strong.

Still hearing murmurs from the whelps
when I was very young.