Recy Taylor


when the church doors burst open

after service at ‘bout midnight,

thought I woulda been covered

by the blood of Jesus

on my way home.

When that green Chevy passed by me

three or four times, I knew


something wasn’t right.

Armed with knives and guns

they told me to

take my rags off.

Momma I didn’t wanna die

so with tears streaming

I did it.


who is going to believe me?

That they wanted a raggedy

little nigger like me?

His pale skin

piercing into my ebony.


ain’t no where I can go.

look at my skin

they don’t care about colored folks

like me. Grandma, you remember,


used to

work her back all day

picking cotton for her master.

Hurt her back all night

being silent for him too.

I said,

they ain’t my master no more

my body isn’t theirs to take

but they still did it anyway.



Deborah Olaniyan