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Patsey, My Quest for Identity

Updated: Oct 1

Alka Borah


Photograph by Gabriel Alenius

What will become of me? The colossal question quavers and spooks thee.

Shall I ever inhibit free? Succumbing to the beastly atrocities of identical species.

Shall I ever retrieve my liberation? I was born loose and unbound,

But the unhinged bigotry

Wreak havoc on my identity. O! Deity, Why thou chosen me?

For this bout of plethoric disease.

My freedom, my breath Was withdrawn.

Crumpled and curtailed, In a box of abhorrence to my breed. Each day raising only to dissipate Every quark of my blood, Gratifying my barbaric enslaver’s sycophantic predilection. Conveyed as swine’s,

In the realm of funk. Sundered and Contraband From own homeland, Entirely to groom Caucasian’s land. Am I so nugatory? O Supremo! Thou maketh me for no good,

Barring to lick the racists’ boot. Predicament of life is fully bloomed,

Consequently, my esse is now doomed. An epoch is heralding, When my history be recorded in minuscule writing. Portraying a sooty girl, Howling outside a dusty warehouse,

Panting and doused in frayed blouse.

At most to receive The corporal floggings, Shredding my skin. Mutating to ochre blue and green. Up until to the last page of the lost history,

My agonizing life, Shall turn to a mystery. My home, a portable garret.

Life? more an alms, a white man’s inherit. The gash Is deeper to the brain,

than the body. Left and neglected!

Worse than a poddy. That lasciviousness! nearing my maiden soul Tattering! Maligning! my entity all in all. Nothing thrilled, My mistress so much. But to witness my sufferance grilled by her husband’s brutal clutch. Those brutal whippings! In fact, brought me solace. When my master ordered Solomon

To hit me in full pace. Just a bar of soap Left me lynching, finally to sob I be then, their amusement exhibition. Tying me to a tree trunk,

Like a foe. Scourging with a whip Satiating each of theirs ego.

For my scars,

Spawn a legacy of pain.

I, happen to wonder Why heaven did not rain?

Fearful of the fact!

That no record of my existence be guarded.

I being abused and long retarded.

Despite it,

My fella, an enslaved comrade.

Will spare me a condolence tear,

Finally wrapping me mud- clad.

Bidding me adieu,

In tragic fear.

Then with a defunct heart, Merrily shall vegged out.

Such as my life,

my death was not celebrated.

Buried like a cancerous oxen Underground,

ill fated!


[The poem is inspired by the 1853 memoir and slave narrative by Solomon Northup, '12 Years a Slave' and is based on the character 'Patsey']


::x::x::x::

Poet Alka Borah

lives in

Gautam Buddha Nagar

Noida



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