Before God had gone down to trouble those waters,
I had dipped and wash you child in the calm waves
Of the Nile.
From rooted Jordan and Babylon child,
I sang to you those ancient songs
As I scrubbed away the dirt from your black flesh.
In the plantation cots in the golden dusk of Georgia,
In steadfast resolute,
I tried to cleanse the expanse of your black skin with water.
But now child, I’ve been unsettled.
Muddy as the blackened conscious of Delta Blues,
I’ve seen the waters turn a syrupy-hue.
I now allow you child to drink bitterness
And etch the poison of human guile
In your god-like blood and god-like skin.
Let us flow to a return child,
When I sang those old spirituals, lulling you to sleep
With the most savory of shadows and dreams.
But in those days oh child,
The waters were far too deep
And your skin was far too beautiful to leave.
Matthew Johnson is a 2015 December graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Matthew is a sports journalist who has written for the USA Today College, Fansided, StoopSports and his university newspaper, The Carolinian. Matthew’s poetry has appeared in The Coraddi and The Carolinian. He lives in North Carolina.