From the Anthology 

Black Women Coping in Cleveland

Division of Self

by Jada-Leigh McGregor

I have a part of me

That only half the world sees

Its lesser known twin

Starved of sunlight

Is for my brethren

Few and far between

My outward projection

A safe and soft-spoken, kind and caring me

Created for their comfort

Pristine, wrapped in the same stuff as grandma’s couch

She exists for the vast majority

So I can make them rest easy

With my quiet, un-radical doctrine

My façade is starting to feel a lot like me now

And that would be fine

If there wasn’t this furious red-hot beast

That I never feed

Living inside of me

At any point on the brink of being unleashed

I keep her at bay, just about

Shown only to a select few

Entrusted with my whole identity

But she’s always in my company

Bubbling under my passive phrases

She suffers for release

I douse her destructive fire

I quell her escapist desires

And push her further beneath the surface

She can’t be seen

Lest I confirm their suspicions

About anger and black women

But I am angry

And I am tired

Full of well-wishing but also

The inescapable fear

That people will never change the way I want them to

I just hope that our futures stop mirroring the past

That hope keeps the spark lit behind my eyes

Author Bio

Jada-Leigh McGregor is a sophomore at Oberlin College pursuing Creative Writing and Law and Society majors and a minor in English. Originally from London, Jada-Leigh currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. Though she has been writing her whole life, Jada-Leigh only began writing poems because it was required for an English class in high school. While she's had many hobbies over the years, including fencing, volleyball, crocheting and the violin, writing is the only one that stuck, and now she intends to pursue it as her career.