Juneteenth 2021


March 21, 2022 by The Citron Review

by Vogue M. Robinson


“Black People once free, did not gather in mobs and hunt,  
despite all the same access to trees and rope.”  
– Suzi Q. Smith, from the poem, “Black Rage in 4 Part Harmony” 


Time does not move for us the way it does for others.  
 Time cannot heal an untended wound.   Time will not bring our
language back.  call me Black  
call me free  
call me alive  
call me blessed  
call me in the middle  
call me  

Call me for my freedom  
on time  
I will answer that call  

How do I rename myself free? 

It starts with a walk  
down a well-manicured street  
hold my hand  
Whistle with me, allegedly  
into the wind  
on a clear blue day  
I want to live  
to listen  
and be listened to.  

To pray to any & every God  
To feel safe in my place of worship  
To drop my wallet and pick it up  
in front of the cops 
& live to tell the story to grandchildren  

A proclamation is not  
the same as a promise  
does not hold a feather  
to Jim Crow’s heavyweight laws  
does not blind a neighborhood watch  

God please, make my dreams unhindered  my back, unburdened  
my peace, unbothered  
my properties, unencumbered  
I want to be more lightweight than a body  I want no blood on the leaves  
no body undead, spectacle on roadside  

May we all live unshackled, amended  
rooting for truth  
on family trees  

Stolen is such a wide word, wider than the Atlantic  

Juneteenth, you were  
a watermelon seed… 
A symbol of freedom  
A morsel of hope   
A half-full promise  
poured over our  
labor cracked hands  
ached and bare  

                    Time is a sea we have learned to set  

                               forward and back, like clocks  
                    Our hands were empty  

       but they are skilled and full  
       of possibilities. 


Vogue M. Robinson – poet, author, mentor, and teaching artist – has an appreciation for human beings who put truth and heart into words. She served as poet laureate of Clark County, Nevada (2017-2019) and is the first Black woman to receive the Silver Pen award from the Nevada Writers’ Hall of Fame. She also serves as a teaching artist within classrooms, community centers, nonprofits, retirement communities, and of course, inside your computer. Find her at vogue316.com




3 thoughts on “Juneteenth 2021

  1. vogue316 says:

    Thank you for publishing my work!

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